Sources close to former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford say he will run for the seat vacated by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in 2014, the Weekly Standard reports. He is expected to officially announce his candidacy early next week.
Sanford joins a crowded group of Republican contenders for the seat, though he is considered the frontrunner given his name ID and fundraising prowess. Sanford still has $120,000 leftover in his congressional campaign account that he could use for a new bid, according to The Hill.
Sanford is widely expected to make it into a primary runoff election, which would be held on April 2. Given that the district has sent a Republican to Congress in every election since 1987, the winner of the runoff is virtually guaranteed a seat in the 113th Congress. Other Republican contenders for the seat include state Rep. Chip Limehouse and state Sen. Larry Grooms.
The move was not unexpected. Sanford was spotted in Charleston yesterday shopping around for a campaign headquarters and told the Charleston Post & Courier that his family was supportive of a potential bid.
Sanford has signaled that he will focus on fiscal issues in the race for his old House seat, and told the Post & Courier that he hopes that voters can look past the scandal that marred his governorship.
But Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., told The Hill earlier this week that that will largely depend on his opponent, signaling that Grooms would be a tough competitor for Sanford. "These folks who are voting are hardcore primary voters, and if it's Mark versus a moderate they'll overlook his indiscretions," he said. "If it's Mark versus a fiscal conservative they'll vote for the other guy."
A victory would mark a comeback for Sanford who left office after admitting to an affair with Argentinian reporter Maria Belen Chapur.
The primary will be held on March 19 with the general election set for May 7.