South Carolina: Sanford Makes TV Buy Amid Trespassing Accusations

Posted April 17, 2013 at 9:39am

Updated 12:05 p.m. | Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is set to appear in court this week, facing accusations that he trespassed on his ex-wife’s property in early February, according to The Associated Press.

The news comes as he enters the final weeks as the GOP nominee in a special election against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Continued drama in one of the messiest divorces in modern politics will add another layer of complication in his attempt at a political comeback.

But Sanford will have an outlet to make his case — television.

Democratic sources who track media buying tell CQ Roll Call that the Sanford campaign and the South Carolina Republican Party have 1,000 points (a major television buy worth $90,000 to $100,000) reserved in the Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., media markets. It is set to begin Wednesday and last through April 22.

An ad may not immediately surface, though, despite the reservation. Operatives involved in the race are avoiding some overt political moves in light of Monday’s bombings in Boston.

House Majority PAC, a super PAC with a mission to pick up Democratic House seats, requested that local stations delay airing its ads.

An extramarital affair was at the center of Sanford’s political fall and divorce. In 2009, he disappeared from the state while governor and when he was still married to Jenny Sanford. He told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but later admitted to having an affair with an Argentinian woman, María Belén Chapur. She appeared at his primary night victory party.

This is a traditionally Republican district. But Democrats familiar with South Carolina politics believe that Sanford is vulnerable with conservative females. In their minds, the death blow could come in the form of Jenny Sanford endorsing Colbert Busch.

Jenny Sanford indicated she will do no such thing — attempting to stay out of the fray in emailed comments to CQ Roll Call on Thursday.

But the public records in The Associated Press report could prove to be more politically damaging than a Jenny Sanford endorsement.

The Sanford campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This race will decide who will replace now-Sen. Tim Scott. Sanford previously represented the district in the 1990s. Election Day is May 7.

Updated 12:05 p.m.

Mark Sanford’s camp released this statement from the candidate on Wednesday morning:

“It’s an unfortunate reality that divorced couples sometimes have disagreements that spill over into family court. 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. 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 cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened.

“There is always another side to every story, and while I am particularly curious how records that were sealed to avoid the boys dealing with embarrassment are now somehow exposed less than three weeks before this election, I agree with Jenny that the media is no place to debate what is ultimately a family court matter, and out of respect for Jenny and the boys, I’m not going to have any further comment at this time.”