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Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott line up behind embattled Mark Sanford

Not all national Republicans are running away from Mark Sanford in South Carolina’s 1st District special election.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. (AP Photo)
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Not all national Republicans are running away from Mark Sanford in South Carolina’s 1st District special election.

On Wednesday, Sanford picked up the support of both of the state's senators. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted his support for the former governor, who now finds himself struggling in his special election race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, while Sen. Tim Scott issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“In Congress, @MarkSanford will vote to cut wasteful spending eliminate debt & make gov't work for the taxpayer. We need him in Washington,” Graham tweeted from his official account.

Graham's show of support came even after Sanford said in his only debate with Colbert Busch on Monday that he wouldn't support the bipartisan immigration bill Graham has championed that would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

Scott also changed his tune on the man seeking to succeed him in the 1st District special election. When asked last month about the GOP nominee, Scott scurried away and told the Daily Caller “I got nothing at this point.”

But on Wednesday, Scott called Sanford the "stark choice" over Colbert Busch, the Charleston Post & Courier reported.

“On all the most important issues facing our state and country, from dealing with our dangerous levels of debt, to repealing or resisting the government health care takeover, to standing up for Charleston jobs against the NLRB, 1st District voters have a stark choice,” Scott said. “Mark Sanford is hands down better on all of those issues, and that’s why I believe he merits support.”

Sanford also got the official backing of both Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, earlier this week – potentially helping his campaign coffers and tapping into their active grassroots donor network. The conservative group FreedomWorks also endorsed Sanford on Tuesday, saying they would help with get out the vote efforts in the Charleston-based district this weekend. Gov. Nikki Haley will also host a fundraiser for Sanford this evening.

Sanford find himself in a neck-and-neck race with Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, despite the fact President Obama lost the solid GOP district by 18 points last year. In 2009 as governor, Sanford disappeared from the state for several days and returned to reveal he had been in Argentina with his mistress. Sanford and his wife, Jenny, divorced, and he is now engaged to the Argentinean woman.

After surviving a crowded GOP primary and runoff this year as he sought a political comeback, a report showed Sanford had been accused of trespassing at his ex-wife’s home, and national Republicans, including the National Republican Congressional Committee, pulled their support from his campaign.

He and Colbert Busch met for their only debate on Monday, where Sanford continued to paint his opponent as a pawn of national Democrats looking to boost her, but Colbert Busch knocked Sanford for his disappearance and affair.

In his final ad before Tuesday’s general election released today, Sanford took a direct-to-camera approach to make his closing argument, stressing again that a vote for his opponent would be akin to a vote to put Nancy Pelosi back in the speaker’s chair.

"I fought hard over the years to make South Carolina a better place to call home,” Sanford says in the ad. “But those efforts pale now in the larger battle for the direction of our country. Maybe that’s why Nancy Pelosi and allies have spent more than $1 million to defeat me.”