Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Mark Sanford Wins Special Election #SC01

(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.

  • Ryan

    I wouldn’t exactly call Sanford’s victory “meaningless”. Perhaps it’s insignificant on the national scale, but the questions start now on whether Sanford will run for a full term – not to mention whether Colbert-Busch will file for a rematch.

  • bobneuman

    shame, shame…what a horrible mark on the good people of South Carolinia.

  • donaldeljohnson

    When you can’t get a real job, run for Congress. Brains not require. Nor ethics. Lots of cuties around.

  • Steffen Schmidt

    Family values South Carolina style.

  • Guadalupe Garcia

    Crazy world we live in. Newt Gingrich lost his bid for the presidency for pretty much the same reason. Yet this guy won! South Carolina voted for adultery. Par for the course for a national electorate that appears to be for abortion and same sex marriage.

  • GNH

    So… some hate Sanford, some like him despite his philandering and long-ago, twisted apology, and some have no problem {or held their nose} voting for him. What I find significant is that the Obama 2.0 {DEMs, et al.} spent $2 million within SC01 and Sanford still won. That even after the NRCC pulled their support. Ha! As if their support is gold these days.

    Shades of 2014?

  • Gentil Aquitaine

    This the party of David Vitter and Newt Gingrich. Marky Mark is just another letcher in the crowd… Consider this district though… Jefferson Davis would have trouble unseating a Republican there. It is possible he will be primaried in 2014 but doubtful a Democrat will win.

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