Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Former Gov. Mark Sanford's improbable political comeback is complete: the Republican trounced Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in Tuesday's hotly contested First Congressional District special election.
The win means Sanford will return to the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that he held from 1994 to 2002.
Sanford defeated Colbert Busch by close to 10 percentage points district-wide in a race that was called a toss-up in the days leading up to the election.
Sanford finished with an unofficial total of 77,466 votes district-wide (54.04 percent) compared to Colbert Busch's 64,818 (45.2 percent). Green Party candidate Eugene Platt had 690 votes, and 383 votes for write-in candidates were made.
Sanford's Berkeley County vote total was even more impressive.With 46 of 49 precincts reporting, Sanford has 15,094 votes (60 percent) to Colbert Busch's 9,493 (38 percent). Green Party candidate Eugene Platt has 146 votes (0.5 percent).
"The campaign at the end of the day was based on two very different ideas about what ought to come next in Washington, DC," Sanford said in his victory speech Tuesday night in Mt. Pleasant.
The victory, which garnered national media attention, means the start of a new political life for Sanford, whose final term as governor was marred by scandal.
Sanford opened his remarks with kind words for his Democratic opponent.
"I want to say thank you to Elizabeth," he said. "They ran a great campaign. I would give them compliments for a well run race."
Berkeley County voters were met with less than ideal weather conditions for much of Tuesday. "We've had a higher turnout than we did last time," Berkeley County Elections Commission Director Wanda Farley said Tuesday afternoon. "It's been steady all day and hasn't let up at all."