Ex-SC Gov. Sanford back in political office

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has redeemed a political career sidelined by scandal by winning his old congressional seat.

Sanford defeated Elizabeth Colbert Busch Tuesday in the state's 1st Congressional District. Colbert Busch is the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert.

With all precincts reporting, Sanford has 54 percent of the vote. Colbert Busch has 45 percent, and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt received 1 percent.

At one time, Sanford was mentioned as a possible GOP presidential contender.

But his career unraveled when, as governor four years ago, he disappeared for five days, telling his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He returned to admit he had been in Argentina with his mistress. Sanford later paid a $70,000 ethics fine, the largest in state history.

Sanford told a cheering crowd of more than 100 supporters after his election victory on Tuesday that he has experienced human grace as he came back from political scandal to rebuild his political career.

He said that, unless you experience God's grace, you really don't get it, and he says he didn't get it before when his career was sidelined by the scandal.

But Sanford is now heading back to Congress in the district he represented for three terms in the 1990s.

Sanford has never lost a political race.

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