Like a modern-day Lazarus, rising from the dead after a four-year political hiatus, ex-Republican Gov. Mark Sanford’s political career appears to be resurrected with his congressional win over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert.
Though Sanford’s opponent, Colbert Busch, out did him in fundraising, she could not get enough votes to beat him in the election on Tuesday, May 7. Sanford succeeded in winning back his old congressional seat, despite the sexual scandal that caused him to resign four years ago. The scandal, involving Sanford’s affair with his mistress from Argentina, to whom he is now engaged, resulted in his wife, Jenny, divorcing him.
The 52-year-old Sanford has never lost a race in three runs for Congress and two for governor. The district he won, District 1, hasn’t elected a Democratic congressman in more than three decades. This was perhaps the best chance for that record to be broken, as Steven Colbert, the comedian who hosts The Colbert Report, was a vocal supporter of his sister.
“Some guy came up to me the other day and said you look a lot like Lazarus,” Sanford told a crowd of more than 100 cheering supporters at his victory celebration. Like Lazarus, who Christians believe that Jesus Christ raised from the dead, Mark Sanford managed to come back from the public embarrassment of the scandal over his affair, which would usually mean political death for anyone trying to seek an office.
Sanford currently has close to 54 percent of the popular vote. He spoke of his supporters, and God, having forgiven him, saying that:
“Until you experience human grace as a reflection of God’s grace, I don’t think you really get it. And I didn’t get it before.”
Sanford was forced to pay a $70,000 ethics fine, the largest in state history, for using public money to fly to Argentina for personal purposes. He had told his staff that he had been hiking the Appalachian Trail. On The Colbert Report, Steven Colbert used this phrase–as other comedians did–as a sexual inneundo.
Mark Sanford’s oldest son and his fiance, Maria Belen Chapur, where with him to celebrate his election win. Chapur, who Sanford calls his “soul mate,” flew in from Argentina, but left immediately after Sanford gave his victory speech.
The seat became vacant late last year, when Sen. Jim DeMint resigned. SC Governor Nikki Haley then appointed the sitting congressman, Tim Scott, to fill DeMint’s seat until an election could be held.
Written By: Douglas Cobb
Sources / Supporting Links / Works Cited (If none, please type “none”): Bruce Smith, Reporter for the AP, May 7, 2013 article titled Despite Scandal, Ex-SC Gov. Sanford Back In Office