With the run-off election for the Republican nomination coming up, Republicans in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District seem eager to deliver an early Christmas present to Democrats.

His name is Mark Sanford:

South Carolina Republicans offer Dems a free seat in Congress

(Image: AP)

Voters here have heard all the reasons to keep former Gov. Mark Sanford retired from politics.

He’s damaged goods. He risks handing a safe Republican congressional seat to the sister of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert. The 1st Congressional District needs a conservative who lives the talk instead of issuing apologies.

Yet, Sanford appears to be on the cusp of clinching the Republican nomination Tuesday for the right to take on Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a May 7 special election that’s sure to become a national spectacle.

In the grand scheme of modern Republican Party strategy, this makes total sense.  Why wouldn’t you want to focus national attention on your disgraced, philandering candidate?  It’s like the GOP is looking to shoot itself in the foot and South Carolina voters have volunteered the firearm.

“I think, by and large, people are forgiving, especially if they believe your repentance is real. If they believe you are asking for forgiveness authentically and sincerely, then I think people are willing to give people a second chance.  I’ve been around the governor, and it seems authentic and sincere to me,” South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly told Politico.  “I do think the people of the 1st Congressional District know him well. He’s run there before, and they’ve supported him. If there’s any group that’s willing to give him a second chance, this is it.”