CHARLESTON, S.C. – Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford advanced Tuesday to a runoff in the Republican contest for an open congressional seat, taking a step toward reviving a political career that was derailed by an extramarital affair while he was governor.
“Are you ready to change things in Washington?” Sanford, flanked by his four sons, asked a boisterous crowd at a restaurant in Charleston’s historic district. “I’m incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support we have seen tonight.”
With all precincts reporting, unofficial results show Sanford received about 37 percent of the vote in the southern coastal district. It was unclear who he would face in the April 2 GOP runoff.
Former Charleston County councilman Curtis Bostic held a slim lead over state Sen. Larry Grooms for second place. But the margin is so narrow, less than one percent, that it will trigger an automatic recount. Teddy Turner, the son of media mogul Ted Turner, trailed Bostic and Grooms.
The eventual Republican candidate will square off in the May 7 general election against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. She won the Democratic primary for the seat handily.
Tuesday was Sanford’s first run for office since a 2009 scandal in which he acknowledged an affair. After disappearing and telling his staff he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail, he returned to the state to reveal that he was in Argentina with a woman he later become engaged to after divorcing his wife, Jenny.