Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Fallen ex-governor seeks new chance

Fallen US presidential hopeful Mark Sanford is running for public office again (AP)
Fallen US presidential hopeful Mark Sanford is running for public office again (AP)

A former US governor and presidential hopeful whose career collapsed after he was caught sneaking to Argentina to visit his mistress is hoping for redemption in a congressional election.

Mark Sanford, once mentioned as a potential Republican presidential contender, was exposed in 2009 after he disappeared for five days, telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He returned to admit he had been visiting his mistress - to whom he is now engaged.

Sanford later paid a 70,000 dollar ethics fine, the largest in South Carolina's history, for using public money to fly for personal purposes. His wife Jenny divorced him.

Now Sanford is in a tight race for the 1st District congressional seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.

"It's going to be a close election" said Gibbs Knotts, chairman of the Political Science Department at the College of Charleston.

"It will depend on turnout. I'm sort of wondering if the moderates are going to hold their noses and vote for Sanford because he ultimately lines up with their policies."

Mr Sanford faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt.

Mr Sanford, 52, survived a 16-way Republican primary and a run-off between the top two finishers, while Ms Colbert Busch swept 96% of the vote in the Democratic primary.

In his campaign, Sanford has tried to focus on his belief in cutting government spending and balancing the budget.

Three weeks before the special election, however, news surfaced that Mr Sanford's ex-wife had filed a court complaint alleging he was in her house without permission in violation of their divorce decree. He said he was there so his youngest son would not have to watch the Super Bowl alone.

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