The special election for South Carolina's open House seat is, in some ways, a test of what voters will forgive. The district is a solidly Republican one, and local Republicans picked former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) — who already held the seat for three terms in the 1990s — as their candidate against political novice Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a successful businesswoman who's better known nationally as the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.
The biggest obstacle to Sanford's election is his own history — while governor, he secretly fled his state for South America to meet up with his Argentine mistress, now his fiancée, all while telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail by himself. Now voters will have another alleged transgression to weigh: The Associated Press on Tuesday reported that two days after the upcoming election, Sanford is due in court over his ex-wife's claim she caught him trespassing in her home.
The details of the incident don't make it sound any better. Here's the AP's Bruce Smith:
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And according to the court document, this wasn't Sanford's first trespass, either. The former governor has "entered into a pattern of entering onto plaintiff's property," the complaint says. "Plaintiff has informed defendant on a number of occasions that this behavior is in violation of the court's order and has demanded that it not occur again."
Although Jenny Sanford confirmed that the documents are real, she also said she thought they would be kept sealed, like the records from their 2010 divorce. "I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race," she tells the AP. "I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I'm trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing."
And, of course, Republicans are less than happy with the turn of events.
Don't say GOP voters weren't warned about the likelihood of "Sanford's campaign imploding on itself," says Erika Johnsen at Hot Air. "Shaking my head. So much."
The case "is sure to throw a wrench into a race where Sanford is widely seen as a favorite," says Schuyler Kropf in the Charleston Post and Courier. In particular, "the female vote could sway events if Sanford's conduct becomes an issue."
Whether or not this sinks his campaign, though, the fact that he allegedly broke into his ex-wife's house using his cell phone as a flashlight will provide a lift to political humorists:
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