The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled its support for former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's congressional campaign, acknowledging that revelations that he trespassed on his ex-wife's property in February could cost the party a House seat in a district that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won by 18 points last year.
The decision comes after the committee was caught off-guard by an Associated Press report that Sanford had trespassed on his former wife's property less than three weeks after declaring his candidacy in the special election.
Concerned about the implications of the disclosure and the possibility that other revelations could be forthcoming, the committee has decided not to spend any funds to help Sanford reclaim his former seat in Congress on May 7. "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," NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said in an e-mailed statement.
The news of the committee's decision to back out of the race was first reported by Politico.
The NRCC has been relatively quiet in the weeks since Sanford won the Republican nomination and has yet to air any television or radio ads in the Charleston-based district. But the committee was widely expected to weigh in on his behalf, unwilling to give up a seat with such a heavily Republican tilt. Public polls have shown a tight race between Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.