After a scandalous and salacious exit from the governorship of South Carolina back in 2011, Mark Sanford is returning to politics.
The former republican governor has his sights set on South Carolina’s first congressional district, a seat previously held by Tim Scott.
Sanford made headlines as a hardline conservative who appealed to Tea Partiers and grassroots conservatives. But it was his six day disappearance in 2009 that made him infamous. From June 18th through June 24th he eluded his personal security, left the country, and his wife, for a tryst with his Argentinian mistress (now his fiancé).
Initially Sanford told Slate’s Gina Smith that it was a last minute trip, and that he had thought about hiking the Appalachian Trail, but decided “to do something exotic”.
Path to redemption?
Washington isn’t particularly exotic, but Sanford is expected to formally announce his campaign for congress on Wednesday.
This announcement follows weeks of speculation that his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, would run for the same seat. Thankfully for Mr. Sanford, she declined.
But if there’s any doubt of his ability to do the job—even with a tarnished personal reputation—Mr. Sanford invites voters to simply “look under the hood.”
In an interview with the National Review, Sanford explains that he was compelled to get back to into civil service out of “dire” concern for the fiscal road the country is on.
He adds, “what I’d like to do is take all that I’ve learned in my time in congress and my governorship, on my way up and on my way down, and apply it to what is probably the most important debate that we will have in regard to the future of our country.”
Sanford touts his record as a fiscal conservative who first turned down stimulus funds, got full marks from the national taxpayers union, and who sold the state’s private jet. And he’s still got supporters in his corner.
But will the disgraced governor get a chance at redemption? He hopes so… and if history is any indication (Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer), he just might.