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SC-1: Another Mark Sanford Challenger Drops Out

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EXIT STAGE LEFT …

For the second time in the last ten days, a candidate for the Republican nomination in South Carolina’s first congressional district has dropped out of the race.

Last week it was Tom Perez, who suspended his campaign due to a military deployment.  This week it is Ted Fienning, who was viewed by many Washington, D.C. insiders as the top challenger to “Republican” incumbent Mark Sanford.

Not anymore …

According to a statement released late Friday, Fienning is dropping out of the race to … wait for it … spend more time with his family.

“I am writing to share that I am ending my campaign for the United States Congress today,” Fienning wrote in a statement. “My wife Molly and I have realized that we need to focus on our two young sons and growing our businesses.”

Fienning said his campaign would “pay all bills and return remaining campaign contributions in the coming weeks.”

With Perez and Fienning out of the race, Sanford currently has no announced opposition for next spring’s GOP primary election – although that could change.

As we’ve previously reported, freshman state representative Katie Arrington is currently being courted to run against Sanford – although she has yet to publicly address the speculation.

Others could conceivably enter the race against the man known in Washington, D.C. as “Representative TMI” for his chronic and emotional oversharing.  In fact we’re told the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump – a frequent target of Sanford’s criticism – is eager to see a candidate step up and run against the “Luv Gov,” whose teary-eyed confession to an extramarital affair in 2009 ended his presidential ambitions and nearly cost him his old job as governor of South Carolina.

Make no mistake: Sanford is vulnerable in 2018.  For starters, he ran an embarrassing GOP primary campaign last spring against S.C. Rep. Jenny Horne – badly exposing his potential exposure 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).

For now, though, Sanford appears to have dodged a bullet … two of them, actually.

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