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SC-1: Mark Sanford Loses A Challenger

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STILL HAS OPPOSITION …

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford’s path to reelection got a little bit easier on Wednesday when one of his prospective opponents for South Carolina’s first congressional district was forced to suspend his candidacy.

Wait … there’s a scandal in this race not involving Sanford?

No, no, no … nothing like that.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

GOP candidate Tom Perez – who announced his intention to run against Sanford earlier this year – is withdrawing from the race because he has been “called to active duty for deployment.”

Specifically, Perez “will be deployed to a combat zone as part of a joint task force in the U.S. Central Command Area of Operation,” according to a press release from his campaign.

Specific details (and dates) were not provided as to the location (and length) of Perez’s deployment. His campaign would only say that the timing “would coincide with critical points of the campaign, and he would be returning after the primary election is held.”

“I go where my country needs me,” Perez said.  “As much as my wife and children wish for me to be needed in Congress, right now my country needs me more defending freedom overseas.”

Impressive …

In fact that’s quite a contrast to Sanford, who volunteered for – and later quit – a medical reservist’s position with the U.S. Air Force right around the time he was running for governor of South Carolina.

Even with Perez out of the race, Sanford is still facing a challenge from Ted Fienning, an entrepreneur and Marine fighter pilot.  There is also speculation that freshman state representative Katie Arrington might enter the race.

Both Fienning and Arrington – assuming she runs – are likely to raise big bucks for their respective candidacies.

Sanford ran an embarrassing GOP primary campaign last spring against S.C. Rep. Jenny Horne – badly exposing his vulnerability against a credible, well-funded opponent.  Sanford is also exposed to what we are told is an “ongoing campaign finance issue” as well as a still-pending investigation into child abuse allegations stemming from an incident involving his niece last spring.

Aside from all that there is Sanford’s disappointing ideological evolution.

Once a lonely champion in Washington, D.C. for freedom and free markets, the latest iteration of Congressman Sanford is a typical Washington Republican hack (click here, here and here for our reports chronicling the descent).

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