U.S. congressman Mark Sanford has been scrambling this week to beat back a spirited challenge from first-term state representative Katie Arrington in the race for South Carolina’s first congressional district (map).
Sanford – who in a quarter century of campaigning has never lost an election – has launched a furious television air war as this race heads down the homestretch.
His goal? To blunt Arrington’s late momentum.
Will it work? Possibly … but the 58-year-old career politician has a serious problem on his hands.
Well, several serious problems actually.
First is Sanford’s own frugality … which continues to put him in difficult electoral positions. In 2016, Sanford should have beaten his “Republican” primary opponent Jenny Horne by thirty points – however he declined to spend any money on his reelection bid. As a result, Horne came within ten points of pulling off an upset – exposing Sanford’s vulnerability.
Talk about penny wise and pound foolish …
In the current campaign (brought about by his vulnerability in the last one), Sanford has followed the same “don’t spend unless you have to” mantra. Now that polls show him in a tighter-than-expected race, though, he’s having to unload the saddlebags.
Obviously money matters in politics, but Sanford’s decision to delay devoting the considerable resources at his disposal limits the effectiveness of his massive cash advantage over Arrington.
Which leads us to his second problem … the message Sanford is communicating with his paid advertising blitz.
After months of beating the drum as a #NeverTrumper – a.k.a. an opponent of U.S. president Donald Trump – Sanford is now attempting to portray himself as a supporter of the administration.
“Overwhelmingly I voted with the president,” Sanford said in his latest television spot.
Wow … really?
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Sanford as a supporter of Trump? Please …
We are no longer in the business of defending the forty-fifth president, but Sanford’s status as one of the preeminent #NeverTrumpers in Washington, D.C. is no secret.
From that article …
Sanford, who ran to CNN to refuse to endorse President Trump’s re-election in April alongside the staunch Never Trumper, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and others, is by all accounts struggling heading into the primary just over a couple weeks from now.
Sanford has attacked Trump for allegations that the president had an affair years ago with washed-up porn star Stormy Daniels–something the establishment media are fascinated with, but, by and large, Republican voters could not care less about–saying the allegations against Trump are “deeply troubling” while admitting he has only been working with the Trump administration “imperfectly.” Sanford even blamed Trump for the shooting at a congressional baseball practice that severely injured House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), stating the president was “partially” at fault for the shooter’s actions.
“I would argue that the president has unleashed, partially, again not in any way totally, but partially to blame for the demons that have been unleashed,” Sanford said in an appearance on the anti-Trump MSNBC show Morning Joe. “The fact that you’ve got the top guy saying, ‘I wish I can hit you in the face. If not, why don’t you, and I’ll pay your legal fees,’ that’s bizarre. We ought to call it as such.”
Sanford, per Politico, has also accused President Trump of having “fanned the flames of intolerance.”
In that 2017 Politico profile by magazine writer Tim Alberta, Sanford lit into Trump, accusing him of representing the “antithesis” of everything he represents.
Not surprisingly, Arrington is all over Sanford’s attempted about-face.
“Typical career politician,” Arrington said in her response to Sanford’s ad. “Trying to have it both ways. He talks about working with president Trump on the border wall, (but) he was one of only five Republicans who refused to support our president and voted against Trump’s border wall.”
“We’ve all seen Mark on TV attacking our president,” Arrington continued. “Who does he think he’s fooling?”
Take a look …
(Click to view)
(Via: Katie Arrington for Congress)
Sanford has accused Arrington of “making things up,” but there’s no denying how he voted on this issue.
“Mark Sanford was one of only five Republicans to vote against President Trump’s border wall,” Arrington said. “That is a fact. Mark Sanford admits it is a fact. But now he’s trying to talk his way out of it. Typical politician – Mark wants to have it both ways; but when it came time to cast a vote on the cornerstone of president Trump’s platform, Mark Sanford abandoned the president while attacking him on cable news. It’s time to turn the page on the Mark Sanford era and elect a conservative who will stand with president Trump.”
Again, support for Trump is no longer any sort of litmus test for this news site – not after the way Trump sold out on the budget debate – but Sanford’s issues go much deeper than this latest attempt to rewrite incredibly recent political history.
Fiscal conservatives should never forget this is the same politician who voted for uber-liberal former U.S. speaker of the House John Boehner. And then told us Jesus made him do it. Nor should they forget this was one of many sellouts on his journey from principled citizen legislator to complete and total sellout (which, sadly, is a road he’s been on for some time now).
South Carolina voters should also never forget this is the same politician who was busted spending their tax dollars in the furtherance of an affair with his mistress-turned-fiancée-turned-sidepiece, Maria Belen Chapur. In fact, one of their defining romantic interludes was facilitated via a taxpayer-funded detour to Argentina during a government-funded “economic development” trip to South America.
Sanford has been one hypocrisy after another … for years.
In fact believe it or not, this isn’t even his first #NeverTrump hypocrisy …
Our hope? That this hypocrisy is his last …
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