It is hard being former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. It is hard and no one understands. So that is why Sanford, running as a Republican in a special election for an open Congressional seat, decided to take out a full page ad in the Charleston Post and Courier to explain his woes to the voting public.
The tale of the attempted rise from the ashes of Sanford's political career gets stranger which each passing moment in the race. From his fall from grace after vanishing from office in 2009 to this year's attempt at a comeback, each new trail and travail adds volumes to the story. But new polling along with other news may indicate that the final chapter in this saga is at hand with three weeks to go till the election.
Ever since Sanford won the Republican primary, weird and weirder events have come to light. Earlier in April, it was revealed that Sanford had a court complaint from his ex-wife Jenny Sanford alleging that he trespassed in her home on February 3rd. In February of 2011 Jenny Sanford's lawyer sent Mark Sanford a letter telling him not to trespass on her property. A copy was also sent to local police. Mark Sanford will have to appear in court two day before the election. Jenny Sanford says that the timing of the court appearance is coincidence, as the charges were filed the day of the incident. The day after the revelation, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced that they were dropping all support for Sanford’s campaign.
Perhaps in an effort to stymie the effects of this revelation, the Sanford campaign took out their full-page ad. However, coming days after the tragic Boston attacks and the horrific Texas fertilizer plant explosion, it has some of the worst horrendous timing for political advertising that I have seen. Sanford writes about how he has had such a bad week and goes on to detail all of the hardships he has had to endure in the recent weeks.
The ad reads as more desperate then explanatory, attempting to push his side of the story with regards to the trespassing complaint to the forefront. It then veers off out of left field to attack House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic Party and attempts to defend him against the ethics fine he paid due to his actions as governor, the largest in South Carolina history. He then compares his campaign to the Battle of Alamo, misstating the date in the process. The ad says 1863 while the battle was in 1836. Astute readers will also remember that the Texans lost the battle of the Alamo.
Polling is starting to say that this is Sanford's last stand as well. A Public Policy Poll released on April 22th showed Sanford with a 9-point gap against his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, 51-41%. Sanford's favorability rating is at 38%-56% favorable/unfavorable, with Busch having a 56%-31% rating for comparison. 51% of voters say that the recent revelations about trespassing contributed to an unfavorable opinion.
As we all stop to contemplate what exactly has happened in this race, one thing remains clear. Until the votes are counted in May, we should expect any possible plot twist and turn to emerge in the Mark Sanford story.