South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford is fresh off a victory in Tuesday’s primary runoff, but national GOP members aren’t exactly excited over the outcome.
Many of them fear the former embattled governor’s candidacy could deliver what’s considered an almost guaranteed Republican seat to Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Politico reports.
In terms of problems and public perception, Sanford’s admitted extramarital affair is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sanford doesn’t rank high in the opinions of his fellow Republicans and female voters.
From the outset, his recent campaign seemed to be driven by a need to be forgiven for his transgressions four years ago, which puts him on the defensive and makes it that much harder to confront Colbert Busch, the sister of late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.
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National Republicans are so concerned that Sanford could lose the 1st Congressional District seat, they’re putting lots of cash into the race.
Sanford will need every dollar he can get. Stephen Colbert has pledged to go all out to drum up funds for his older sister.
“This race is by no means a slam dunk for Republicans,” said one national GOP official. “If anyone says they know how this race is going to play out, they’re kidding themselves.”
One thing both parties agree on is the belief that this is Sanford’s race to lose.
The district is solid Republican territory – Mitt Romney won it in the 2012 presidential election by a whopping 18 points -- and despite all his mistakes, Sanford is a very seasoned campaigner who is known through the state.
The tenor of the coming campaign seems to have already been set.
Immediately after Tuesday’s primary results, Colbert Busch’s campaign portrayed Sanford as untrustworthy and anti-woman. Sanford, on the other hand, presented the general election as a choice between the ideologies of a small government conservative and a pro-union liberal.
In order to triumph over Colbert Busch, Sanford needs to start making party members in his state come around. No member of the South Carolina congressional delegation has endorsed him.
Sen. Tim Scott, whose appointment to the Senate caused the race for his House seat, has so far stayed mum on the race, but it’s a guarantee national Republicans will want him to get behind Sanford.
Recent polls shows Sanford and Colbert Busch in a dead heat.
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