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February 10, 2016

GOP Throwing Another Race Away, Mark Sanford Style

(Davis Turner/Getty Images)

(Davis Turner/Getty Images)

Republicans are on quite a streak when it comes to throwing away elections.

In 2010, it was Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, Ken Buck of Colorado and Sharron Angle of Nevada. Then, in 2012, it was Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana.

And now? And now it might be Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Apparently uncomfortable that they might win an election, GOP voters in South Carolina’s 1st District decided to nominate the disgraced former governor in the special election to fill the seat of Republican Tim Scott, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year.

But Sanford’s ability to win the special didn’t seem all that much at risk until his ex-wife complained that the former governor trespassed at her home, after which Sanford issued an un-persuasive statement explaining his behavior.

Sanford has somehow made this special election a referendum about him, his behavior and his character when Republicans have wanted to make it about Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch accepting contributions from labor unions that opposed allowing Boeing to build a plant in South Carolina, her celebrity backers and her support for President Barack Obama.

The district’s strong Republican bent — Obama won only 40 percent of the vote in the 1st District last year — means that, all things being equal, the GOP has a considerable advantage in any election there.

But Sanford’s candidacy, combined with the trespassing charge, keeps the focus on the GOP nominee, not on Colbert Busch or Obama. That’s exactly what Colbert Busch wants and what Republican strategists had hoped to avoid.

The Democratic nominee continues to talk about jobs, making sure that she is seen by Republican voters as an acceptable alternative. And that’s all she will need to be if Sanford is radioactive.

National Republicans have, by and large,  washed their hands of this special election. Democratic groups are running ads to support Colbert Busch — mostly by mocking Sanford and reminding voters of his ethical lapses — a sure sign of a dynamic that does not help Sanford’s chances.

The Republican nature of the district presumably gives Sanford a chance to win the May 7 special election, but all of the body language of the race — and the momentum — is bad for the former governor. And that’s why this tossup contest tilts toward the Democrat.

If Colbert Busch wins the seat next month, it won’t be because most voters wanted her to represent them in Congress. It will be because many voters — Republican voters — concluded that Sanford was unacceptable.

  • halifaxresolves

    The Republicans are experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
    What a way to ran a party….

  • Kuyperdog

    As a conservative in the First District of SC, a Sanford defeat will be well deserved!

    Those on our side of the aisle that ignored values, principles and WOMEN to put up the most compromised,shameless candidate we could have imagined, will now reap FOR US what they have sown!

    The Sanford-Busch election is no longer about political ideology, it is now actually about personal stability.The shortsighted no-values republican pirmary voters opted for power over principle AND NOW THEY WILL DESERVEDLY GET NEITHER!
    We See today, “Sanford The Pitiful” campaigns with/against a full sized cutout of Pelosi?? The thruth on that is: the only woman now willing to stand publically by Sanford is A CARDBOARD ONE!!!

    • Rob_Chapman

      We will see what happens in SC.

      The contrast with NYC where Anthony Wiener is running a distant second in the mayoral primary is striking.

      • kind67

        Anthony Weiner’s misdeeds were nowhere near the level of Mark Sanford’s. Mark Sanford abandoned his state to cheat on his wife. Anthony Weiner didn’t cheat on his wife nor abandon his service.

        • Rob_Chapman

          Antihony Wiener committed sexual misconduct and has been forced into resignation by the voters of his Congressional District.

          His mayoralty candidacy will be rejected by the broader base of NYC voters for the same reasons.

          I am pointing out the contrast between liberal NYC voters and conservative SC voters when it comes to family values.

      • nyc_nystate

        meanwhile David Vitter in Louisiana has smooth sailing like he was on the Mayflower, not the Mayflower Madam

        • Rob_Chapman

          The Republicans preach family values.

          Democrats show them what family values actually are.

      • Drew Robertson

        IMO Wiener is running and just hoping for a runoff. He’ll lose but in the process he’ll have washed most of his dirty laundry. He should ask Vitter if he should use Wisk or Tide.

  • Rob_Chapman

    It is puzzling that the GOP are hurting themselves so badly in their primaries.

    The whole rationale of Republicanism is simply to seek and hold power.
    Apparently the deeply engrained corruption of the conservative movement has overwhelmed even their lust for power.

  • oyharward

    Voters in the SC 1st Congressional District has a choice to make. Elect a representative with a ‘solid’ governing record on ‘social and fiscal’ issues ‘OR’ elect a representative who will support President Obama’s and the Democrat Party’s ‘liberal’ agenda on ‘social and fiscal’ issues; opposed to a solid majority of the citizens of the SC 1st Congressional District agenda.

    It appears we are ‘keenly’ aware of some of Mark Sanford’s failures while the
    Medias or others have not provided us with the warts of Democrat Party’s
    Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s life. You can ‘betcha’ with the Democrat National Congressional Committee (DNCC) spending at least $143,000 for her campaign; she will support the ‘left-wing’ agenda.

    We must always remember that all of us have regrets over our personal failures. For these failures, we must continue to Pray for forgiveness. When God grants
    forgiveness, I do also!

    • kind67

      And how do you know when God grants forgiveness to another person?

      • oyharward

        You ‘must’ Pray and ask God. He will provide the ‘ANSWER’!

        • Mitchell Horton

          According to scripture, it’s not your place to judge in the first place.

          Sanford’s lying about where he was is the problem. And your ownly actual complaint is that she’s a Democrat. That’s not a valid argument for policy or potential for effective governance.

      • oyharward

        God will ‘forgive’ all of us for the asking. This all happened at Calvary!

    • floridawasp

      God forgives Sanford for being a conservative?

  • PictouGene

    And when Tim Scott runs for re-election, Stephen Colbert will oppose him, and most likely get elected.

    • nyc_nystate

      unless Tim Scott says or does something stupid, Colbert won’t say anything. there is no comedy in that.

      • PictouGene


        We can rely on Tim Scot to say something stupid. After all, he’s a South Carolina Republican.

  • axt113

    This is one reason why I’m not worried about 2014

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