Mark Sanford's Trespassing Charge Just Lost Him a Lot of Campaign Money

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Update 2:05 p.m.: The National Republican Congressional Committee announced they would not be contributing another cent to Mark Sanford's campaign in South Carolina Wednesday afternoon because of his trespassing charge. Politico reports the committee are afraid other details about Sanford's personal life with surprise and reveal themselves before the election. "Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election," Andrea Bozek, an NRCC spokeswoman, said in a statement. Sanford is running against Elizabeth Colbert-Busch for an open seat in a special election on May 7. 

Original post: Mark Sanford can explain this whole trespassing thing, really. He was only trying to be a good father and watch the Big Game with his son, but a communications mix-up led to a misunderstanding. Oh, and this is all some campaign leak conspiracy.

Last night, the Associated Press reported that Mark Sanford — currently in the middle of a congressional campaign in South Carolina that serves as a comeback after the collapse of his marriage and his political career — was facing charges for trespassing on his ex-wife Jenny Sanford's property back in February. He was also lurking around the house using his cellphone, according to court documents, suggesting that Sanford knew he wasn't supposed to be there, perhaps as part of divorce proceedings. A high profile domestic court case leak in the middle of a campaign — the primary is May 7 — has obviously become a setback since the story broke Tuesday night. And that pesky cellphone detail implies something sinister was going on, or at least it's supposed to sound that way. But Mark Sanford said Wednesday that he has a reasonable explanation for why he was at Jenny's house, even if the reason the documents were leaked likely had more to do with his campaign against Elizabeth Colbert-Busch.

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Sanford says he found out his son was going to watch the Super Bowl alone, so he did what any good father would do and offered to join him. "I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone," Sanford said in a statement Wednesday. "Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened." So, there you have it. He was watching the San Francisco 49ers almost come back to beat the Baltimore Ravens, but ultimately failing. He did not offer any critiques of Beyoncé's halftime show. 

But Sanford seems to think the court documents were leaked in some sort of election conspiracy. "I am particularly curious how records that were sealed to avoid the boys dealing with embarrassment are now somehow exposed less than three weeks before this election," Sanford added, before saying he wouldn't comment any further because it's a family matter. That echoes what Jenny Sanford told CNN's Peter Hamby last night. "Those documents are legit and I understood they were to have remained part of the sealed divorce docs," Jenny told Hamby. "This is a private matter and I have no further comment," she added.

The couple is still fresh off a rather ugly divorce, of course. Mark was very famously caught having an affair with an Argentinean when he was supposed to be hiking the Appalachian trail. At least, that's what he told people he was doing when he was with her. Mark and Jenny divorced shortly thereafter. Mark then married his Argentinean mistress and decided to stage a political comeback. It was off to an OK start — besides the grossness of asking is ex-wife to run his comeback campaign — until the trespassing charge came out Tuesday night. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.