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In brief: GOP backs away from Sanford

Thu., April 18, 2013

Washington – Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s comeback try encountered severe turbulence Wednesday when the National Republican Congressional Committee withdrew its financial support less than three weeks before a special election for his former House seat.

The action by the GOP’s campaign arm came one day after a damaging allegation by Sanford’s ex-wife came to light. It accused him of a pattern of trespassing at her house in violation of their 2010 divorce decree.

Much of the Republican establishment has been holding Sanford at a distance. Republicans are worried that more damaging revelations about Sanford’s personal life could emerge before the election, according to a Republican official.

Sanford’s Democratic opponent is Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a civic activist and sister of TV comedian Stephen Colbert. The winner of the May 7 special election will fill the seat left vacant when Republican Rep. Tim Scott was appointed to fill the term of Sen. Jim DeMint, who quit to join the Heritage Foundation.

Illinois House passes medical pot bill

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois physicians could prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions under legislation approved Wednesday by the state House.

The proposed legislation creates a four-year pilot program that requires patients and caregivers to undergo background checks, limits the amount of marijuana patients can have at a time, and establishes cultivation centers and selling points.

Lawmakers voted 61-57 to send the measure to the state Senate, where a version of the bill was approved in 2009. Senate President John Cullerton’s spokeswoman said this week that he supports the legislation.

Gov. Pat Quinn hasn’t said whether he would sign the measure should it reach his desk.

Loose cable stalls private rocket test

Wallops Island, Va. – A private company hired by NASA to make supply runs to the International Space Station scrubbed a Wednesday test launch of an unmanned rocket, saying an important data cord linked to the rocket’s second stage detached too soon.

The towering Antares rocket had been scheduled to blast off Wednesday afternoon from Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore when the countdown clock was halted at the 12-minute mark.

Barron Beneski, a spokesman for Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corp., said another launch attempt would be tried no sooner than Friday afternoon.

Orbital crews were expected to examine the rocket through the night to determine how the ethernet cable came loose. Several other cables in the same area all remained attached to the rocket. Orbital officials had said initially they suspected high winds.


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