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Updated: 4:57 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 | Posted: 11:32 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
By Greg Suskin
COLUMBIA, S.C. —
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford made the rounds Wednesday, appearing on local media announcing a run for congress. Sanford said the nation had reached a critical point, and out-of-control government spending needs to be stopped.
Sanford left office two years ago, amid a scandal that turned an ugly spotlight on the state, and made him a national target for late-night TV. The former governor admitted to sneaking off to South America to see a mistress, after first telling reporters and his own staff that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Sanford and his wife Jenny divorced, and he said repeatedly that his political career was over. Now, Sanford has reclaimed the spotlight. "I think he's running because he needs something to do, and he misses the limelight," said Winthrop University Political Scientist Karen Kedrowski. She also said Sanford has a chance to win in U.S. House District 1. The seat was vacated by Rep. Tim Scott, who was just appointed as the state's new senator. Kedrowski said Sanford has experience in Congress where he served for six years, as well as instant name recognition. "He's running in a very friendly district where he has a base of support, lots of friends, and possibly weak opponents," she said. It's likely that Sanford will have to face Republican opponents in a primary set for March 19. Those opponents could launch easy personal attacks against him. "I think it leaves an opponent with a real opportunity to ask about family values, to ask about his commitment to office, to ask about his personal stability," Kedrowski said. The congressional district is also strongly republican, which would likely favor the candidate who survives the primary against any democratic challenger. Most voters channel nine spoke to in Rock Hill on Wednesday said Sanford was untrustworthy, and should stay out of politics. A few others said he deserved a second chance, and didn't do anything that many other people haven't also done.
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