{{show_title_date || "Mark Sanford: I had a 'ping-pong' match in my gut before entering race, 4/3/13, 7:17 AM ET"}}

Watch: Mark Sanford thanks South Carolina for giving me ‘another shot’


Four years ago, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford left office in disgrace after an extramarital affair – and a secret jaunt in South America – was uncovered  by the press. But on Tuesday, the former governor secured the Republican nomination–with 57% of Republican votes–in the special, run-off election to replace Rep. Tim Scott in Congress.

South Carolina is giving him another shot.

“I think people get this idea that I’m not going to judge you on your worst day as much as I’m not going to judge you on your best day,” Mark Sanford said on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. ”I’m going to look at the whole of your 20 years in politics or your 52 years as a member of this community. What we saw last night was people giving a verdict of, ‘Yes, we’re going to give you another shot.’”

“Once in every thousand years a South Carolina senator retires,” Sanford said, referring to former Sen. Jim DeMint’s retirement that prompted Gov. Nikki Haley to appoint Rep. Tim Scott to his seat–opening up the seat that Sanford served in before running for Governor.

“And the phone just started lighting up,” Sanford said, with friends and former coworkers pushing him to return to politics to fight for reduced spending.

“It’s the debate of this civilization. If we don’t get our finances in order,” Sanford said. “It’s going to have incredible repercussions in terms of the American dream and what it’s historically provided.”

Host Joe Scarborough referred to the Morning Joe/Marist poll that found that Americans favor short-term job creation over reducing the deficit by a two-to-one margin.

“As we both know, change occurs from a burning platform, and unlike when we were there 20 years ago, the platform’s burning,” Sanford said. “It’s no longer academic when you look at what happened in Greece.”

Sanford will face Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election on May 7.

“She’s not held office,” Sanford said. “Right now, the thing that people do know is that she’s Stephen Colbert’s sister … At the end of the day, he’s not on the ticket.”

Several polls have shown Colbert Busch with an advantage in South Carolina, but no Democrat has held the seat in 30 years.

“We’re going to have a debate on ideas. I thin that’s going to substantially change the polls.”

Watch: Mark Sanford thanks South Carolina for giving me 'another shot'