Endorsements are usually seen as a good thing in an election, a way to show that someone that voters value and respect supports you and thus voters should support you. From Oprah to the New York Times, politicians vie for critical endorsements to give them an edge in their race. Other endorsements are less sought after, such as Larry Flynt endorsing Mark Sanford and calling him "America’s great sex pioneer."
Flynt is the founder and publisher of Hustler magazine. Flint praised Sanford, who is running for Congress in a special election in South Carolina, saying:
"I’m endorsing Mark Sanford for U.S. Congress because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today. Mark Sanford has demonstrated by his words and deeds that traditional values are shameful and that he will not live by such rules. His open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support."
Flynt's endorsement was done in a YouTube video, which can be seen below:
In the video Flynt salutes Sanford, calling him "America’s great sex pioneer" and expressed interest in doing a photo op with the candidate. Flynt says of Sanford, "Despite his journey down this Appalachian Trail of deceit, I support him for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values. The liar has exposed the greater lie."
Flynt of course is referring to the affair that Sanford had with Argentinian journalist María Belén Chapur. During the affair, Sanford disappeared entirely for six days (claiming he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail") until he reappeared and admitted to the affair. The ensuing scandal saw Sanford get divorced, censured by the legislature, and pay over $70,000 in ethics fines. The shadow of the affair was so long that it even came up in the recent debate with his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch:
This is not the first "endorsement" that has referenced Sanford's sexual liaisons. The dating website Ashley Madison, which specializes in linking up men and women in relationships for affairs, penned an endorsement of Sanford on their blog. They went as far as buying a billboard in South Carolina that featured Sanford's picture.
When asked about the endorsement and the photo op offer from Flynt on Tuesday Sanford called it "silly" and said that "It’s one of those endorsements that's designed to hurt you ... I can say with certainty that it's not going to help me."
The South Carolina special election takes place on May 7. No word on if Flynt's endorsement is the gamechanger needed to turn this race around for Sanford, who is down in the polls.