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Trespassing accusation leaves Sanford on his own

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm •  Published: April 17, 2013

After a visit to a Mount Pleasant diner, Colbert Busch — the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert — refused to discuss Sanford's personal life or past indiscretions.

"We're going to focus on the positive message of job creation for this district," she said, after being asked several times about Sanford by reporters.

So far, voters in the conservative district have seemed open to forgiving Sanford for his past misdeeds and re-electing him to the seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.

He and Curtis Bostic emerged as the top vote-getters in a primary of more than a dozen candidates. He then defeated Bostic in a runoff, boosted by strong name recognition and his message of fiscal responsibility.

Sanford famously left the state for five days in 2009, with staffers telling the media he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail. Instead, he was in Argentina, visiting the mistress to whom he is now engaged.

Sanford tearfully admitted the affair during a news conference after he returned to the U.S., and he and his wife divorced shortly thereafter. Before leaving office, Sanford avoided impeachment but was censured by the Legislature over state travel expenses he used for the affair. He also paid what is still the largest ethics fine ever in South Carolina at $70,000.

"I think what he did was silly and stupid, but he was still a good governor," said voter Stephanie Shackelford of James Island. As for the trespassing complaint "I don't see why we should even know about it. That's between them and their lawyers."

Sanford must now appear before a family court judge on May 9, two days after the election. During the hearing, he'll have to show why he should not be held in contempt for violating the couple's divorce settlement, which stipulates that neither may enter the other's home without permission.

Jenny Sanford has said the timing of the court complaint had nothing to do with her husband's political campaign.

However, it has some voters wondering if it demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment.

"I think it speaks to his morality and his ethics, and that just by itself gives me pause," said Dana Frazeur of Mount Pleasant. "I know that people should get second chances and everything, but when you are a figure at that level, you are held to a different standard and you should be."


Associated Press Writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report from Washington.