Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is out with his first television ad since becoming the GOP nominee in the special election in South Carolina's 1st District, going after Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for her ties to unions.
"Elizabeth Colbert Busch says she knows jobs and will be independent, but she's not telling you that she's supported by labor unions," a narrator intones. "Nearly $30,000 in checks from big labor, even from the union who tried to shut down Boeing and ship a thousand jobs out of South Carolina."
Hotline On Call obtained a copy of the ad from a Republican media buyer, who said that the campaign is spending just under $100,000 to run the ad on cable and broadcast television in the Charleston and Savannah, Ga., markets. They're spending about $7,100 to run the ad on the radio in Charleston and Hilton Head as well, according to the source.
Sanford has repeatedly hit Colbert Busch on the union issue over the past week, calling on her campaign to return donations from union contributors, particularly the International Association of Machinists, which brought a complaint against Boeing in 2011 that would have forced the company to cease its operations in Charleston. The company's factory there has been a major job creator in the district and announced that it would create another 2,000 jobs there just last week. Several of Sanford's opponents in the Republican primary fought over who was most responsible for welcoming Boeing to Charleston.
Colbert Busch has touted her business acumen and experience as a job creator in the district in her own television ads and has fought against the perception that she is too closely tied to labor unions. "If there is anyone out there who believes that a board member of the Chamber of Commerce – not to mention the chairwoman of the South Carolina Maritime Association, chairwoman of the International Trade Conference and one of the Journal of Commerce's Top 20 Women in Transportation -- is in the pocket of big labor, I have some oceanfront property in Wyoming for you," she said in a statement last week.
The ad is a departure for Sanford, whose past television spots have been positive and biographical, focused largely on his record as governor and his comeback from the 2009 scandal that nearly cost him his job. The change in tone also comes at an awkward time for Sanford: The Associated Press revealed last night that his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, has accused him of trespassing on her property. Sanford has been ordered to appear in court on May 9 -- two days after the special election.
The spot follows two weeks of silence on the airwaves by the Sanford campaign, which had begun to draw questions from Republicans, particularly given that only three weeks remain before the May 7 election. Colbert Busch, meanwhile, has been up both on television, with an ad touting her independence, and the radio, with a spot attacking Sanford and accusing Republicans of trying to prevent African-Americans to vote.
Outside groups, too, have been relatively quiet in the race so far. Neither the National Republican Congressional Committee nor the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has released a single ad in the district so far, though the former did release a "Vine" attacking Colbert Busch on the labor issue. House Majority PAC, an outside group dedicated to electing Democrats to the House, will soon change that. The super PAC plans to release a television spot in the district in the near future. The ad was originally slated to air on Tuesday, but has been delayed because of the bombings in Boston, according to a spokesperson.