S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms is distancing himself from a movement urging voters in South Carolina’s first congressional district to write his name in on the ballot in next month’s special election.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Grooms called on first district voters “to not help elect a Democrat by writing in my name or any other candidate’s name but instead to support our Republican nominee, Mark Sanford.”

“I am asking them to stop their effort,” the fiscally conservative State Senator said.

Grooms said the write-in campaign – organized by the Conservative Campaign Committee – was launched “without my knowledge or consent.”

News of the write-in campaign – which includes a radio and television spot – was reported exclusively by FITS. Other write-in efforts are reportedly underway in support of Curtis Bostic, the left-leaning Republican who was defeated by Sanford in the GOP runoff.

Grooms’ primary bid – which we endorsed – came a few hundred votes short of qualifying for the runoff.

What’s prompting all this “write-in” talk? Frustration with Sanford – whose campaign appeared on a pathway to victory until his ex-wife Jenny Sanford accused him of trespassing on her property. That allegation – and Sanford’s fumbling response to it – has cost him dearly in this Republican-heavy district.

In fact earlier this week a new poll showed Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch enjoying a nine-point advantage over the former governor.

In addition to Grooms’ statement of support, Sanford’s campaign did get another bit of good news today when former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul – the Godfather of the modern fiscal conservative movement – offered his endorsement. Prior to his two terms as governor, Sanford represented the first district in Congress from 1995-2001 – during which time he frequently voted with Paul.