CHARLESTON — In a debate days before the GOP runoff for a vacant South Carolina congressional seat, former Charleston County Council member Curtis Bostic on Thursday called former Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford a compromised candidate who would give Democrats a chance to win the 1st District seat that Republicans have controlled for more than three decades,
Trust is a critical issue and it has become a critical issue in this race, Bostic said during a televised debate sponsored by the state Republican Party. A compromised candidate is not what we need. This seat needs to be held for the conservative cause.
The two candidates are vying in Tuesdays runoff for the GOP nomination in the district on the states south coast. The winner faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, in the May special election. The seat became open after the appointment of Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of Jim DeMint.
Sanford disappeared from the state in 2009, telling his staff he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, only to return to reveal he was having an affair with an Argentine woman to whom he is now engaged.
Conservative talk show host David Webb, the debate moderator, asked Sanford about the mistrust people might have about him in light of his past.
I failed and I failed very publically, the former two-term governor said. You probably do far more soul searching on the way down than you do on the way up.
Sanford added that it has come to be my belief that at one level or another we are all compromised as human beings. Not since Jesus Christ was here has there been a perfect man or woman.
He said that after Scott was appointed, people kept encouraging him to run.
He said they told him here is your chance for you to learn, not only from your experience in Congress and the governorship, but more significantly what you learned both on the way up and the way down and apply it to what is arguably one of the great conundrums of our civilization, which is how do we get our financial house in order.
Sanford held the congressional seat for three terms in the 1990s.
Bostic said that he would go to Congress to work with other members of Congress to deal with the debt and government spending.
What we need is not just a Mr. No, but someone who can build coalitions, he said, saying that 88 percent of Sanfords vetoes were overridden by lawmakers while he was governor.
Sanford countered that while those vetoes were overridden, the ones that were upheld saved taxpayer money $230 million in 2010 alone, he said.
Have I always had a war on spending? Absolutely. Does it sometimes affect your ability to get things done? Absolutely, he said.
But he said he was able to work with lawmakers from both parties to get tax cuts, workers compensation, and employment security reform in the state.