Less than two hours after the polls closed Tuesday night, the Associated Press called the Republican primary runoff in South Carolina's 1st District for former governor Mark Sanford. Boy, has that man come a long way since that time he went hiking on the Appalachian Trail in June 2009. That sentence only makes sense, because Mark Sanford never went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He disappeared to Argentina, where he met up with his mistress Maria. Now, after that scandal, after he left office shrouded in shame, after his wife divorced him, after he resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, after he paid back the taxpayers of South Carolina for funding his affair, after his censure, Mark Sanford is back. And he might be on his way to Washington.
The only person standing in Sanford's way at this point is none other than Stephen Colbert's big sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Just two weeks ago, Colbert got one step closer to Washington by winning the South Carolina Democratic primary for the open seat in Congress. Unlike Sanford who represented South Carolina's 1st district for six years and served as South Carolina's governor for eight, she's a newcomer to the political arena. While support from her celebrity brother certainly helped, Colbert Busch has an impressive record as a local leader in South Carolina's capital, Charleston, and has proved to be a serious contender.
At this point, it's anyone's race. The latest poll numbers showed Colbert Busch slightly ahead of Sanford and within the margin of error. Sanford's primary win ought to give him a boost, and now he has a little over a month to win voter support and complete his redemption. Even if he loses, the man deserves a gold star for trying. It's not easy to be shamed in front of the entire nation (see above photo) only to turn around and a few years later and mount a an epic comeback. All else fails, Argentina's not a bad place to retire, even if it's a little early.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.