National Democrats have a simple message for former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford: “Keep Walking.”
That’s the closing line of an effective 30-second spot running this week in the South Carolina first congressional district – where Sanford is currently locked in a tight race with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a former six-figure taxpayer-funded bureaucrat whose claim to fame is her famous brother, faux conservative comedian Stephen Colbert.
This race was trending in Sanford’s direction until this week, when it was revealed the former “Luv Gov” trespassed on his ex-wife’s property without her permission – on multiple occasions, according to her lawyer. Now Sanford’s political comeback is facing perhaps its greatest challenge yet.
The Democratic ad – which was clearly in the works prior to Sanford’s “No Trespassing” scandal – slams Sanford on the fallout from his dramatic 2009 sex scandal.
For those of you who have suppressed the memories, Sanford dramatically confessed to having extramarital affair at a rambling press conference at the S.C. State House in June 2009. He then compounded his problem by perpetually oversharing about his feelings for his lover (now fiancee) Maria Belen Chapur – and he nearly lost his job as a result of an ensuing ethics investigation into his travel practices. Among other abuses, Sanford failed to report dozens of private flights, obtained improper upgrades to first class seats on numerous state trips and misused the state plane for personal and political purposes.
Additionally, Sanford’s Commerce Department spent tax dollars on a 2008 South American “economic development” trip during which the governor had a romantic rendezvous with Chapur. Sanford ended up paying $74,000 in fines associated with his various violations – and was censured by state lawmakers – but he avoided impeachment.
The Democratic spot his virtually all of those sweet spots … and does so against the backdrop of Sanford’s infamous “I was hiking the Appalachian Trail” cover story.
Take a look …
Or in the words (word) of Democratic consultant Tyler Jones, “BOOM.”
Even before his latest blunder, Sanford was going to have to deal with precisely this sort of incoming broadside. The question now is whether or not the renewed focus on his personal failings helps amplify the message of a spot like this.
If it does, Sanford could have real problems on his hands …
We spoke with a well-placed Republican woman regarding Sanford’s lastest fiasco – and his excuse that he was on her property because he didn’t want his youngest son to watch the Super Bowl by himself.
“Sanford said he tried to call her, and as a parent, I could see myself doing the same thing Sanford did–wanting your son not to watch the game alone,” she said. “But as a woman, I would likely wonder if he also (went) through my personal stuff while he was there, which would make me mad and upset.”
“Bottom line–he will still win the election,” she added. “If he beat the Appalachian trail stuff, he can beat this, too. But he’s totally guilty of trespassing.”