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Future SC First District Showdown?

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MARK SANFORD SHARES STAGE WITH POTENTIAL CHALLENGER

By FITSNEWS || U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford is scheduled to address an establishment “Republican” gathering in Charleston, S.C. this week – an event hosted by GOP gadfly Mallory Factor.

The former South Carolina governor’s appearance at Factor’s “Charleston Meeting” on Monday evening is his first big political speech since announcing his breakup with ex-fiancee Maria Belen Chapur via a nauseatingly introspective Facebook tome.

The fallout from Sanford’s lengthy, narcissistic post was swift … and universally unkind.

It’s also raised doubts about his political future – especially in the event he were challenged by a woman with gravitas.

“A halfway credible female candidate would crush him,” one veteran Lowcountry political operative told FITS, referring to Sanford’s next congressional election (the “Luv Gov” is unopposed this November).

Funny … it just so happens a credible potential female candidate, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton will be sharing the stage with Sanford at Factor’s “Charleston Meeting.”

CATHERINE TEMPLETON

CATHERINE TEMPLETON

In fact we’re told Templeton – whose political prospects we profiled in this piece – will address the gathering immediately following Sanford’s remarks.

Hmmmm …

This website was initially brutal in its treatment of Templeton, who first appeared on our radar as director of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR).  Seriously … brutal.  We also opposed Templeton’s ascension to SCDHEC, the largest agency in state government.

Templeton has won us over, though – impressing us with her commitment to cut, not expand, the SCDHEC bureaucracy.

We’re also more than a little enamored with her “guns.”

So far Templeton has given no indication that she is interested in running for Sanford’s seat – or any elected office, for that matter.  Sources close to the outspoken 43-year-old tell FITS she plays “everything close to the vest” – and that she has a “constituency of one” when it comes to such decisions (referring to her husband, Charleston, S.C. attorney Morgan Templeton).

We’re also told Templeton – who made a name for herself as a union-busting attorney – doesn’t “fit neatly into a partisan box,” which as far as we’re concerned is a good thing given the ideological bankruptcy of both major political parties here in South Carolina (and beyond).