It looks like South Carolina voters might be willing to forgive and forget after all.
A new poll shows the state’s disgraced former Governor Mark Sanford essentially tied with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in their Congressional race, as voters prepare to go to the polls on Tuesday. The numbers are a reversal from just two weeks ago, when Colbert Busch maintained a nine-point lead.
The Public Policy Polling survey shows Sanford ahead of Colbert Busch by one point, 47% to 46%. That falls within the poll’s margin of error. Two weeks ago, Colbert Bush was ahead 50% to 41%.
Sanford, who resigned in 2011, two-and-a-half years following revelations of an extramarital affair, is trying to make a political comeback in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Tim Scott, who was appointed to fill Jim DeMint’s Senate seat.
The first poll, which showed Sanford lagging behind, was taken days following allegations from Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny, that he trespassed her home in Sullivan’s Island, S.C. and had established a “pattern of entering” the home without permission. Sanford has argued that he came over to watch the Super Bowl with his son.
The House GOP campaign committee dropped financial support for Sanford after the incident.
Since then, however, Sanford has gone on the offense, arguing that Colbert Busch—sister of comedian Stephen Colbert—is a diehard liberal who is willing to do or say anything to keep in line with her party. He has repeatedly tried to link Colbert Busch to House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, even going as far as to debate a cardboard cut-out of the California Democrat, insisting she was a stand in for Colbert Busch.
Voters in the district that’s voting on Tuesday aren’t Pelosi fans—the PPP survey showed that she has just a 24% favorability rating.
Colbert Busch, meanwhile, has been touting her business background and has reminded voters of Sanford’s infidelity with Argentine television reporter Maria Belen Chapur, to whom Sanford is now engaged.
If voters in the district “went to the polls on Tuesday and voted for the candidate they personally liked better, Colbert Busch would be the definite winner,” says PPP. “That's why Sanford's campaign has tried to shift the focus toward national Democrats who are unpopular in the district, and that's been a key in helping him to make this race competitive again.”