A bold and shameless brand of politician has surfaced in a South Carolina congressional race starring a disgraced governor booted out of office after getting busted rendezvousing with his mistress in south America during work time.
One thing is for sure, ousted South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has a lot of nerve, not to mention loads of arrogance. As South Carolina governor in 2009 the Republican politician made worldwide headlines because he mysteriously disappeared and his staff and wife of 20 years had no idea where he was.
Bombarded with media questions, his gubernatorial staff initially made up a story that he was on an Appalachian Trail hike when in fact he was in Argentina with his mistress. During his romantic Latin American jaunt the governor was incommunicado for several days during which staff and state officials said they had not heard from him and could not reach him.
When the truth finally came out, Sanford, who at the time was chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, confessed that he had been unfaithful to his wife for nearly two decades with a variety of women and that he had developed a romantic relationship with what started out as a “dear, dear friend from Argentina.” The governor subsequently referred to her as his soul mate and an Argentine newspaper says he’s currently engaged to the one-time mistress, Maria Belen Chapur.
After the scandal broke, South Carolina’s Ethics Commission charged Sanford with dozens of violations for using state planes to take personal trips and flying first class instead of coach on official travel. The two-term governor, at the time a married father of four young boys, was also charged with spending campaign money on personal matters on 10 occasions.
This week, Sanford kicked off his political comeback to run for the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Tim Scott after his appointment to the U.S. Senate. Scott replaced Senator Jim DeMint, who stepped down last month to run a Washington D.C. nonprofit. Of interesting note is that Sanford held the same congressional seat from 1995 to 2001, but that was pre sex scandal.
In a television ad asking for votes, Sanford invokes the “God of second chances” and says that he’s experienced how “none of us go through life without mistakes.” He also pats himself on the back, claiming that as an elected official he cut spending, reduced debt and made government more accountable. “In that light, I humbly step forward and ask for your help in changing Washington,” he says.