WATCH: Mark Sanford debates a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi
Paging Clint Eastwood

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has been having a rough few weeks in his campaign to reclaim his old House seat.

His ex-wife sued him for trespassing; national Republicans dropped their support for his campaign; and a poll found him trailing his Democratic challenger by a robust 9-point margin despite the race being in a reliably Republican district. 

So how did the Sanford campaign respond to that adversity? By having the candidate debate a cardboard cutout of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a move seemingly ripped from the political playbook of Clint Eastwood, who famously delivered a rambling address at the Republican National Convention to an empty chair meant to represent President Obama.

In a press event Wednesday, Sanford accused his opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, of refusing to debate him publicly and thus running a "stealth campaign." As a last resort, he said, he'd decided to instead debate "Pelosi." 

"Since Elizabeth won't debate, I'm allowed to debate Nancy," he said, before posing a question to the cardboard cutout about a National Labor Relations Board lawsuit that sought to block Boeing from building a new plant in South Carolina. Republicans claimed the lawsuit was politically motivated and would have denied the state much-needed jobs.

Jon Terbush is an associate editor at covering politics, sports, and other things he finds interesting. He has previously written for Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, and Business Insider.


Subscribe to the Week