Former Gov. Mark Sanford announced Wednesday that he is running for the First congressional seat he left in 2003 to run for governor. In his first interview since his announcement he acknowledged leaving the state while he was thought to be hiking the Appalachian Trail to visit his girlfriend in Argentina while being married to his then wife Jenny. He says he knows it’s the first question that will come up.
“I’m a sinner and I’m a flawed man. But I think God can use flawed men or women; and I hope that the voters in this case will choose to use a flawed man.”
Reflecting on his three terms in Congress, Sanford said he is proud of his conservative voting record in the U.S. House, especially on economic issues.
“I was rated number one in the entire United States Congress by the national Taxpayers Union and rated number one by the Citizens against Government Waste in votes to reduce or limit federal spending.”
There was speculation that former First Lady Jenny Sanford would be a candidate for the seat. The former governor said he spoke to his former wife prior to announcing his candidacy.
“I went to the house and I talked to her. I said if you want to do this, then I’m out. i don’t think there could be anything more ridiculous than a husband and wife running against each other for political office; and she said she was out”
Sanford chose not to go into detail about his relationship with the woman he now intends to marry, Maria Belen Chapur.
“All I’ll say is that I love the woman I’m engaged to and I’m going to marry her and I’ll leave it at that.”
The First congressional seat was left open when Governor Haley chose Tim Scott to take over the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint. Other announced candidates for the seat are State Representative Chip Limehouse, Former Dorchester County Sheriff Ray Nash, and Charleston attorney Curtis Bostic.
Charleston affiliate WTMA contributed to this story