Mark Sanford gets second chance as some wonder how - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sanford gets second chance as some wonder how

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Mark Sanford Mark Sanford

A strong political comeback Tuesday night in the Lowcountry as former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford reclaimed the 1st Congressional District seat he held from 1995 to 2001.

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch conceded as the ultimate outcome became clear fairly early on and the victor acknowledged his own remarkable recovery from scandal.

"I just want to acknowledge a God not just of 2nd chances, but of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th chances because that is the reality of our shared humanity," Sanford said.

It will be the first political office Sanford has held since finishing his second term as governor two years ago amid the fallout over claims he was walking on the Appalachian Trail when he had actually traveled to Argentina for an extramarital affair.

Even with his personal issues still very public, his former mistress, now fiance, has been by his side throughout his run for Congress. Sanford emerged victorious. 

Elizabeth Colbert Busch and the state Democratic Party called Sanford a flawed candidate, but Gibbs Knobbs, political science professor at College of Charleston, told WTOC after studying this race, issues mattered. He says those issues trumped Sanford's personal life and scandals.

"You can't always say, well, you can't trust this person. You have to put a message forward people relate to. Colbert Busch was very effective in some areas, talking about the economy and jobs, but other issues she was not very clear on," Knobbs said. "I think Sanford saying Pelosi was funding this campaign and Busch would be one of her followers was ultimately very effective."

Also keep in mind in November, Mitt Romney won by 18 points in South Carolina in the same district during the Presidential Election, and the district, Knobbs says, was set up to send a Republican to Washington. 

Despite $1 million in Democratic campaign funding, national attention and a tough campaign, Mark Sanford is now picking a congressional team for the 4th time.

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