CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Mark Sanford says he believes in "a God of second chances," and now the former South Carolina governor has taken the first step toward reviving a political career that was derailed by an extramarital affair.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, always dreamed of a career in politics — and now she has a chance to realize that dream.
As Sanford advanced Tuesday night to an April 2 GOP runoff for an open congressional seat in a southern coastal district, Colbert Busch easily won the Democratic primary to earn a spot on the May 7 general election ballot.
The race has drawn national attention because of Sanford's well-known fall from grace and Colbert Busch's relationship to Stephen Colbert, who parodies a conservative political commentator as host of TV's "The Colbert Report."
Colbert Busch swamped perennial candidate Ben Frasier on Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination for the seat vacated by Tim Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate to replace fellow Republican Jim DeMint, now head of The Heritage Foundation.
She says she's long dreamed of a career in politics. She remembers watching the 1968 funeral of slain U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy on television with her younger brother Stephen sitting in her lap. That's when she promised herself that one day she would run for office.
She is currently on leave from her job as director of business development for Clemson University's Wind Turbine Drive Testing Facility in North Charleston.
Colbert Busch now faces the winner of the GOP primary runoff in the 1st Congressional District.
"I understand your frustrations and your aspirations. I will never stop listening to you and I am ready to be your voice in Washington," Colbert Bush told her supporters Tuesday night.
"My pledge is to you. You are my only cause. I will fight to improve your lives and the lives of your children," she added.
Sanford, trying to mount a political comeback, easily outdistanced the other 15 Republicans in the field Tuesday. But with only 37 percent of the vote, he finds himself in a runoff.
The Republican campaign was driven more by personality than debate over party direction, with most candidates boasting their conservative credibility.
Unofficial results showed former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic in second place, but the margin is so narrow — less than 1 percent over state Sen. Larry Grooms — that it will trigger an automatic recount this week. Teddy Turner, the son of media mogul Ted Turner, finished fourth.