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Former Gov. Mark Sanford, Stephen Colbert's Sister Advance After S.C. Primaries

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in 2009.
Davis Turner
Getty Images
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in 2009.

The race to fill South Carolina's 1st Congressional District has gotten quite a bit of attention. Mostly because of the cast of politicians vying for the seat vacated when Tim Scott was appointed to Senate by Gov. Nikki Haley.

After a primary, yesterday, we're have a clearer picture of how the face-off will shape up during the May 7 special election: On the Democratic side, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, easily won her party's nomination.

Republican Mark Sanford, who stepped down from the Republican Governor's Association amid a 2009 cheating scandal, came in first, but failing to capture at least half of the vote, he's headed to a runoff election.

CNN reports second place is too close to call:

"'Are you guys ready to change things in Washington, D.C.?' Sanford said to supporters at his campaign headquarters in Charleston on Tuesday night. All four of his sons attended the party.

"'What we've earned is the honor of being on the playing field here for the next two weeks,' he added, asking the crowd to redouble their campaign efforts. "Indeed, we are at that tipping point."

"Late Tuesday night, roughly 400 votes separated the candidates in second and third place, and with some precincts not yet reporting and the possibility of a recount, it was not possible to project whether Charleston attorney Curtis Bostic or state Sen. Larry Grooms would make the runoff."

"My pledge is to you. You are my only cause. I will fight to improve your lives and the lives of your children," Colbert Busch told her supporters, according to The State.

Her brother hasn't commented on her victory. But during a interview with Jimmy Fallon before the election, he said he hoped that what he does "for a living doesn't sully her good name."

Sanford, whose affair with an Argentine woman became public when he went missing from his job, made some waves a earlier this month, when New York Magazine ran a profile of his ex-wife Jenny Sanford.

This is how the piece opens:

"According to Jenny, she had already told Mark she would be taking a pass on the race the day before, at the funeral of a mutual friend. So when Mark came to visit her, he arrived with a proposal. 'Since you're not running, I want to know if you'll run my campaign,' he said. 'We could put the team back together.'

"Jenny told him, in so many words, that wasn't going to happen. Mark made one last appeal.

"'I could pay you this time,' he said."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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