Mark Sanford ‘Off to the Races’

Photograph byAndrew Councill/Bloomberg

Mark Sanford participates in a panel discussion on international investment moderated in Washington in this file photo.

Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman who acknowledged an extramarital affair in 2009, is seeking a return to political life by running for a vacant U.S. House seat.

“Officially we’re going to announce tomorrow, and then it’s off to the races,” Sanford, a Republican running for the Charleston-area 1st District, told National Review’s Jim Geraghty.

“If we didn’t get our nation’s financial house in order, there would be dire consequences to the American taxpayer and to the American dream and for those in this generation and the next,” said Sanford, who served in the House from 1995 to 2001 and as governor from 2003 to 2011.

As for any voters who may be concerned about the extramarital affair he admitted four years ago, Sanford urged them to “look under the hood” at the totality of his record. (That includes an episode during which the former governor’s office first told reporters that Sanford was away hiking the Appalachian Trail when he actually was visiting his mistress in Argentina.)

“I certainly made mistakes. Nobody’s going to bat a thousand. Tragically, a lot of people get divorced in the United States of America, and I suspect many of them have missteps along that path. All you can do is try to make it as right as you can with the people in your life and lift your head up and try to move forward,” he told Geraghty.

Sanford, 52, will seek to succeed Republican Tim Scott, who resigned Jan. 2 to accept an appointment to the Senate. The first-round primary election on March 19 probably will be followed by a runoff on April 2. The special election is May 7. The district leans Republican.

Sanford’s ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, said this week that she won’t run for the seat.

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