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S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) has thrown his support behind longtime friend (and former S.C. Governor) Mark Sanford in the crowded GOP race for the S.C. first congressional district.

Davis – who served as Sanford’s chief of staff and statewide co-campaign manager in both the 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial elections – said he was backing Sanford because of the former governor’s record as a taxpayer advocate during his first stint in the U.S. Congress, from 1995-2001.

“Debt is a serious problem for our nation, and no one has more credibility when it comes to holding the line on spending and putting taxpayers first than Mark,” Davis said. “Twenty years ago, Mark was warning about the consequences of overspending and debt, about the math trap we were heading for with entitlements, and about the dangers of the federal government encroaching more and more in our daily lives.”

Davis’ endorsement of Sanford comes as no surprise – he made it clear he was going to back his old college buddy (the two went to Furman together) very early on in this process.

The only surprise? That Davis didn’t run for this seat himself given his stratospheric approval ratings in Beaufort County. With so many candidates from Charleston, S.C. competing in this race, a candidate capable of locking down the Beaufort vote would have likely cruised into a runoff election.

Sanford is one of sixteen Republicans seeking the first district seat vacated earlier this year by new U.S. Senator Tim Scott.

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