WASHINGTON – A former scandal-plagued South Carolina governor completed a stunning political resurrection Tuesday, defeating the sister of famed political satirist Stephen Colbert to win back his old U.S. House seat.
Republican Mark Sanford had trailed his Democratic rival Elizabeth Colbert Busch in polls a week before the special election in the southeastern state, but the race narrowed in the final days, and Sanford pulled out a 54-45 percent win, according to official results.
“We gave it a heck of a fight,” Colbert Busch said on Twitter about the prospects of becoming the first Democrat to win the district in some 30 years.
Sanford was once considered a possible Republican presidential candidate, but his career derailed in 2009 after disastrous miscalculations while governor.
After lying about an alleged affair, he admitted the relationship publicly while in office, then abandoned his wife for his mistress. He was also forced to pay an ethics fine.
As recently as three weeks before the special election, it was learned that Sanford’s ex-wife had filed a court complaint alleging he had trespassed on her property.
The Republican Party went quiet on Sanford, perhaps sensitive to accusations it might be dismissing women voters by backing a candidate whose adultery had been tabloid fodder.