On just his first day as the Republican nominee for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District seat, former Gov. Mark Sanford is discovering the challenges of running against a female candidate, adding to the difficulties faced by a man in the process of resurrecting his political career after admitting to an extramarital affair.
Whether intentionally or not, Sanford played into the hands of Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch and party strategists after his GOP primary win on Tuesday night by saying, "Right now, in essence, we're running against Stephen Colbert," referring to Colbert Busch's high-profile brother.
Colbert Busch snatched the opportunity that was handed to her, slamming Sanford in a statement Wednesday for "dismissing her accomplishments" because she's a woman. "I worked my way up to Director of Sales and Marketing for a major shipping company, and I am now part of a major economic development effort to renovate the Navy yard," Colbert Busch said in the statement. "If those successes can't convince Mark that a woman is capable of leading, I don't know what will."
Sanford was responding to a question about an internal poll released by Colbert Busch's campaign showing her marginally ahead of him in a general-election matchup and went on to say that she has not yet been defined as a candidate in the race. "We suspect this is going to be a continuing pattern with Ms. Colbert Busch ... trying to pivot to making this a race of personal attacks," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said.