The only debate in the special election race for the open 1st Congressional District was fiery, as both candidates hit the other hard over their previous records and positions.
Although Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch had previously avoided mentioning former Republican Governor Mark Sanford’s infamous trip to Argentina, she did drop an explicit reference to it during Monday night’s debate.
AUDIO: “She went there, Governor Sanford.” (0:26)
The moment came after Sanford touted his reputation as a fiscal conservative in both Congress and the governor’s office. Colbert Busch said she believed the federal government had plenty of waste that could be cut.
She then went after Sanford, saying, “When we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn’t mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose.” That drew some boos from Sanford supporters in the audience (and some applause from Colbert Busch fans).
Sanford laughed as the audience responded. The moderator, WCBD-TV anchor Brendan Clark, told him, “She went there, Governor Sanford.” But Sanford responded, “I couldn’t hear what she said.” He asked Clark to repeat what Colbert had stated, but the panel was not allowed to answer under the debate’s rules. Sanford instead spoke about the federal sequester.
Monday night’s debate took place at The Citadel Military College in Charleston. It was organized by the online news site Patch and was hosted by South Carolina Radio Network and WCBD-TV in Charleston.