Republican Teddy Turner is out with another ad in the special election for South Carolina's First District seat, which may conjure for voters some uncomfortable memories of one of his opponents, former Gov. Mark Sanford.
The ad features a man in a suit, holding a glass of wine and surrounded by lit candles and a fireplace, who apologizes to the viewer and begs for another chance.
"We've come a long way. I know I've spent too much, but what's a few trillion? It was all for you. But I've changed. I'll keep my promises this time, and it'll be different. I'm sorry for all the mistakes I've made. Sugar, just give me one more chance?" he says, before blowing a kiss at the camera.
His final lines echo Sanford's message on the campaign trail, where he has admitted that he made mistakes in the past and asked voters to give him a second chance. That sentiment was prominently featured in Sanford's first campaign ad, in which he invoked "a God of second chances."
Given that Sanford left office following a very public sex scandal, the ad's "break up" theme is likely to strike a chord.
But Turner campaign manager Michael Smith insisted that the ad is not targeted at any candidate in particular -- just the five Republicans featured in photographs in the ad itself: state Rep. Chip Limehouse, state Sen. Larry Grooms, former Charleston County councilor Curtis Bostic, former state Sen. John Kuhn and, yes, Sanford. "That's just meant to be humorous. It's encouraging people not to vote in a complacent manner," Smith said.
"My agenda will not be centered on the question: What do I need to do to get reelected, or to find my next government job?" Turner added, in a statement to Hotline On Call. "I'm a businessman and a high school economics teacher who understand that, in business, results matter more than intention."
Asked specifically if the ad is meant to remind voters of the Sanford scandal, Smith said, "No, no, no, no."
The ad's targets are not surprising, given the data at which Smith says his team is looking. According to Smith, the campaign has received polling showing Sanford ahead. Limehouse was second, though Turner is "basically tied in second place," Smith said. Smith declined, however, to release any detailed polling information.
If no candidate in the 16-person GOP field reaches 50 percent in the March 19 primary, the top two will advance to a runoff on April 2. Meanwhile, Bostic, Grooms and Kuhn are the only other candidates up on the air, at least for now, and all have held public office.
The ad began running across the district on both cable and broadcast this morning and is backed by a $60,000 ad buy, which is consistent with the campaign's prior two ads, according to Smith.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sanford's campaign released a new TV ad of their own, which will begin airing across the district on cable and broadcast on Wednesday. The ad, Sanford's second, features several South Carolinians touting his fiscal conservatism during his time both in the governor's mansion and in Congress.