Candidates spar ahead of SC 1st District GOP runoff

Bostic, Sanford debate on Hilton Head Island

gsmith@islandpacket.comApril 1, 2013 

— Curtis Bostic attempted to use former Gov. Mark Sanford’s words against him in a debate Monday on the eve of the Republican runoff for the 1st Congressional District.

Sanford pushed back with criticism about Bostic’s failure to file a campaign disclosure form.

The two squared off at a Hilton Head Island First Monday Republican Lunch Group forum, the last time they would debate before Tuesday’s GOP runoff. It also was the only Beaufort County debate between the candidates.

“America was a country founded by political amateurs,” Bostic said, quoting from Sanford’s 2000 book, “The Trust Committed to Me.”

Bostic has sought to define himself as a fresh candidate with new ideas who wants to serve voters, and he has sought to cast Sanford as a career politician whose time has come and gone.

“I am the Mr. Smith goes to Washington. I’m the amateur, like those people who founded this nation of ours,” said Bostic, a Charleston attorney and former eight-year member of the Charleston County Council. “I am not looking for a career. I am not looking for somewhere to go. I want to serve you.”

Sanford pushed back on the “career politician” label, saying he cast many unpopular votes while in Congress that hurt his re-election efforts but served taxpayers.

“If I was to be dubbed a career politician, I must have had a death wish,” Sanford said to a packed room at Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Cafe.

Sanford said he would place a term limit on himself once again, as he did after three terms in Congress during the 1990s. But he did not say by how many terms he would limit himself this time.

He said he is seeking office to serve taxpayers and not run from one office to another.

“I don’t need a job. ... I don’t need this for the money,” he said, adding that he has disclosed his financial interest on a federally required form that shows nearly $200,000 in earnings in 2012 for providing commentary on Fox News and serving on two corporate boards. He also earned more than $100,000 from rent, capital gains and partnerships.

Sanford said his motivation in seeking office is to “make a difference” for his children and “for your kids, for your grandkids.”

Bostic has yet to submit his financial form. He has said he asked for an extension to ensure the form would be filled out properly.

Bostic, who said the majority of his law practice is working for small oil and gas companies, added that the form requires him to list every client who has paid him at least $5,000, a task that some clients are resisting and will require some time for his accountant to accomplish.

He and his wife, Jenny Bostic, also run a charity that operates in six countries and includes two orphanages. He said he hopes to submit the form within the next few days.

Sanford and Bostic were the top two finishers in a 16-way Republican free-for-all in the 1st District on the state’s south coast two weeks ago. The winner of the runoff advances to face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Bush and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt in the May 7 special election.

The U.S. House seat, held by Sanford for three terms during the 1990s, became vacant last year when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed sitting congressman Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat in turn left vacant by the resignation of Republican Jim DeMint, who left Congress to join a conservative think tank.

The Associated Press contributed

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