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RNC Dumps Mark Sanford as Trespassing Allegations Pile Up


"At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election."

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford addresses supporters in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, after advancing to the GOP primary runoff in a race for a vacant South Carolina congressional seat. Sanford, trying to make a political comeback, was one of 16 Republicans running in Tuesday's primary. Credit: AP

Just when it looked like former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford might be making a political comeback, the former governor has been once more sunk by poor life choices. Following allegations by his ex-wife that he trespassed at their old home, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has made a point of announcing that it will not spend money to secure Sanford's election in Senator Tim Scott's (R-SC) old district. The Washington Post reports:

The news comes as controversy continues to swirl around Sanford and his personal life — a process that began with his well-publicized 2009 affair but was inflamed, the Washington Post has learned, when one of the Sanfords’ sons met Mark Sanford’s former mistress for the first time the night he won the GOP nomination.

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday took the unusual step of telegraphing that it will not spend money on his special election campaign.

“Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election,” the NRCC said in a statement, which was first reported by Politico.[...]

A Republican familiar with the NRCC’s decision criticized Sanford’s lackluster response to the report about his ex-wife’s trespassing complaint and said it would be “foolish” for anybody to spend money on him.

“It’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to win – stranger things have happened in special elections,” the Republican said. “But the fact that he wasted precious time and money rehabilitating his image only to squander that makes it very foolish for outside groups to commit resources.”

Sanford, for his part, has issued a new defense for his actions. The Associated Press has reported that Sanford claims to have visited his ex-wife's home while she was out of town because he didn't want his 14-year-old son to watch the Super Bowl alone. From the AP report:

Sanford issued a statement Wednesday characterizing the matter as a disagreement.

"I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone," Sanford said. "Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cellphone when she returned and told her what had happened."

Whether this defense will persuade observers of Sanford's innocence or trustworthiness is an open question.

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