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Mark Sanford to Newsmax: SC Will Judge My Service, Not My Affair

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 06:53 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford — running again for the U.S. House seat he held for three terms — says he’s prepared to be hammered over the steamy extramarital affair that tarnished his rising political star.

“It goes with the territory,” Sanford told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” two days after beating former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic for the GOP nomination.

“The folks in the media, what do they want to do? They want to take one chapter of your life and completely define your life by that chapter.

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“But what many people here along the coast of South Carolina said to me is, ‘You know, Mark, I’m no sooner going to judge you by your worst day than I’ll judge you by your best day. I’m going to look at the totality.’”

Sanford, a two-term governor, triggered a political scandal when he vanished for five days in 2009. Reporters were falsely told he was hiking along the Appalachian Trail.

He later revealed he’d been in Argentina with his beautiful mistress and “soul mate” Maria Belen Chapur, a divorced mother of two from Buenos Aires. Sanford was then dumped by his wife Jenny and censured by the State Legislature.

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Sanford, who is now engaged to Chapur, said he expects to ultimately be judged on his accomplishments over his decades of public service.

“That’s all that any of us can hope for,” he said.

He also reiterated his stand on gay marriage, and that it should remain a state — not a federal — issue.

“My position is that … a marriage is between one man and one woman. That doesn’t mean that you condemn people for other views, but if you ask me what’s my position, that’s it,” he told Malzberg.

“Ultimately, on any of these touchy subjects, the way we’ve handled them as Americans is to say, you know what, let’s have a debate; let’s have a conversation as Americans. And let’s sort it out.

“[What] we haven’t done is to say, you know what, we’re going to have this decided by a handful of unelected judges, lifetime judges, in Washington, D.C., and they will decide for us little people, the rest of us, on how it’s going to go.”

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He said with nine states and Washington, D.C., deciding in favor of gay marriage with the rest opposing it, it is “vital” for Americans to continue discussing the issue.

“There are a lot of differences in America,” Sanford said. “But the reason we’ve been a melting pot that works is people have been allowed to express their view … and they haven’t had things decided from on high in Washington, D.C.”

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