Mark Sanford’s Return: S.C. Ballot

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mark Sanford attends the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

Mark Sanford’s political comeback gets its first test tomorrow.

The former South Carolina Republican congressman (1995-2001) and governor (2003-2011) who acknowledged an extramarital affair in 2009 is likely to finish first in a House primary, though probably without the majority-vote threshold needed to win the party nomination outright, in his bid for a return to Congress.

The biggest question is which one of Sanford’s 15 Republican opponents will secure the second berth in a runoff election scheduled for April 2 in the 1st District in and around Charleston.

The other Republicans include Curtis Bostic, a trial lawyer and former county councilman; Larry Grooms, a state senator; John Kuhn, a former state senator; Chip Limehouse, a state representative; and Teddy Turner IV, a son of billionaire media executive Ted Turner.

Most of the main Republican contenders are partially self-financing their campaigns, led by at least $600,000 from Limehouse and $500,000 from Kuhn.

The two-candidate Democratic primary will produce an outright winner: Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a business development official with Clemson University and an older sister of the political satirist Stephen Colbert.

The Democratic and Republican winners will face off in the May 7 special election. The 1st District, which leans Republican, was vacated in January after Republican Tim Scott was appointed to the Senate.

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