Sanford would bring an instant celebrity profile to the Senate and would almost certainly unleash a torrent of media attention. Aside from a national book tour, she has kept a low profile since weathering a storm of scandal in 2009, when her husband, then-Gov. Mark Sanford, disappeared from the state to visit his girlfriend in Argentina.

But she always wielded a muscular political hand behind the scenes during her husband’s campaigns and his time in the governor’s mansion. Her name frequently surfaces in discussions about future candidates for the lowcountry House seat currently held by Scott.