Mark Sanford Wins Special Election #SC01
Posted at 8:38 p.m. on May 7, 2013
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Mark Sanford is officially coming back to Congress.
The former South Carolina governor defeated the Democratic nominee, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, on Tuesday night in South Carolina’s 1st District special election.
He defeated Colbert Busch 54 percent to 46 percent with 71 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
What does this mean for the 2014 cycle? Pretty much nothing.
This special election — and its candidates — were so unique that it fails to signal any hint of a national political trend. (Roll Call contributing writer Stu Rothenberg goes into detail about this on his blog.)
The GOP nominee, Sanford, faltered last month following reports that his former wife accused him of trespassing in February. The national party abandoned him soon after, seeing it as too much risk to support the man who infamously took a 2009 trip to Argentina for an extramarital affair while he was governor.
Democrats quickly rallied to Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. They aimed to attract female voters disgusted by Sanford’s behavior — a strategy that appeared to be working until the final week.
But in the final days of the special-election campaigns, polls showed a tight race. Many conservatives came back to support Sanford. Republicans and Democrats had doubts that Colbert Busch could prevail in a district that voted for Mitt Romney by an 18-point margin last year.
They were right. Sanford won the election, earning his trip back to Congress. He represented parts of the 1st District for three terms until 2001, when he left the House to eventually run for governor.
This is a special election to replace Republican Tim Scott, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year.