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With one week left before voters in South Carolina’s first congressional district head to the polls, former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford appears to have climbed back into the race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.

Will it be enough to propel him to a remarkable comeback win?

It’s going to be very, very close …

FITS has spoken with several sources familiar with a pair of new independent polls – one Republican, one Democratic. And while specific numbers were not provided to us, both polls reportedly show Sanford eating into the nine-point lead opened up by Colbert-Busch a week ago.

The internal Democratic survey reportedly has Colbert-Busch enjoying a four-point lead over Sanford, while the GOP poll has Sanford trailing by a smaller margin (described to us as “well within the typical margin of error”). Both surveys were taken prior to this week’s debate between the two candidates – which most observers pegged as a win for Colbert-Busch.

The first district leans overwhelmingly “Republican,” although Sanford entered this race with high negatives from his infamous 2009 scandal – and his ongoing inability to keep his personal life out of the headlines has once again cost him dearly. Meanwhile this website – which endorsed Sanford over a fiscally liberal Republican in the GOP runoff election for this seat – decided against endorsing him over Colbert-Busch after he distanced himself from several pro-free market positions he took in the past.

Sanford also agreed with Colbert-Busch that taxpayer money should be used on government-run “economic development” efforts – even though he has previously stated his opposition to “picking winners and losers” in the free market.

Nonetheless, Sanford is benefiting from a recent surge of support from free market backers – including endorsements from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (here) and FreedomWorks (here), a conservative advocacy group based out of Washington, D.C.

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