South Carolina state representative Katie Arrington is preparing to take the battle of ideas directly to incumbent “Republican” congressman Mark Sanford, sources familiar with her campaign for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district (map) tell us.
A feisty freshman lawmaker who has already been touting some solid reforms at the state level, Arrington is reportedly preparing bigger and better things for her 2018 congressional bid.
“He’s in for a fight,” a source close to Arrington’s campaign said of Sanford, who is exceedingly vulnerable on any number of fronts. “I don’t think he knows how serious this challenge is.”
According to our sources, Arrington is preparing a series of policy planks aimed at addressing the current dysfunction in Washington, D.C. And yes, we’re told term limits – once a staple of Sanford’s brand – will be a major part of her platform.
Not only that, Arrington may one-up Sanford on this issue by pledging to self-limit – i.e. agreeing to serve no more than three terms if she is elected in 2018.
Our source couldn’t confirm ahead of time whether Arrington plans to make such an commitment, but doing so would certainly distinguish her from most politicians – who pay lip service to the notion of term limits but fail to hold themselves accountable on the issue (i.e. Tom Rice).
Such a move would also distinguish her from Sanford, who has abandoned the self-limiting philosophy that helped propel him to the South Carolina governor’s office in 2002.
“The old Mark Sanford won the governor’s race because he stuck to his congressional term limit pledge,” one Lowcountry GOP activist told us. “He was the principled, anti-politician. The new Mark Sanford is just another career politician. He wants to stay in Washington for as long as he possibly can.”
(Click to view)
(Via: Sam Holland/ S.C. House of Representatives)
As previously noted, Sanford – whose hypocrisy continues to amaze us – is facing a host of deleterious issues as he seeks to win his fourth congressional election since his infamous implosion on the national stage.
After dramatically underperforming expectations in last year’s “Republican” primary election, Sanford has been dogged by reports of a lingering campaign finance scandal as well as unresolved allegations of child abuse involving a young female relative.
More recently, Sanford has been ensnared by #NukeGate – the mushrooming political scandal over state government’s abandonment of a multi-billion nuclear power project. In 2007, Sanford – then in his second term as governor of South Carolina – allowed a bill socializing the investment risk for this controversial project to become law without his signature.
More fundamentally, Sanford simply isn’t the same principled official he was during his first stint in Washington, D.C. from 1995-2001.
No longer the taxpayer hero, limited government champion he once was, Sanford has become a typical Washington “Republican” (click here, here and here for our reports chronicling this unfortunate evolution).
Can Arrington capitalize on these glaring vulnerabilities?
We’ll have to see … but an aggressive policy push containing clear lines of demarcation between her and the new, “unimproved” Sanford sure seems like the beginnings of a credible candidacy.
As regular readers of this website are no doubt aware, this website has a ton of history with the former “Luv Gov.” We are not fans … and the feeling has often been mutual. Having said that, as this election unfolds we remain committed to giving Sanford every opportunity to get his views out proactively – and respond to our coverage.
We’re still going to call it like we see it, but whatever we think of Sanford we believe he has the right to contribute his two cents to the discourse as it unfolds on our platform.
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