Open thread: Mark Sanford vs. Curtis Bostic in SC-1 Republican runoff; Update: AP calls it for Sanford

The polls close at 7 p.m. ET. If you missed Guy Benson’s Greenroom post yesterday, aptly titled, “So, this ‘Republican nominee Mark Sanford’ thing is probably happening, huh?,” read it now for a snapshot of the hubris that defines Team Sanford. I thought nothing could top it. Then I read this:

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

“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.”

He lied when he promised to serve only three terms in Congress, but now we should believe that he’ll abide by his new term-limits promise — even though he refuses to tell anyone what it is yet. Perfection. And as for the money, of course he’s not in it for that. How many people with the wherewithal to run for Congress are in it for the salary and future lobbying proceeds? They’re in it for the power and for the personal validation. I wonder which of those weighs most heavily with Sanford — the desire to be Somebody again, or the desire to be granted semi-official absolution by South Carolina voters for his political sins four years ago. Initially I thought it was goofy that he’d campaign on the idea of “second chances”; after all, wouldn’t that just remind South Carolinians of what he’d done? But now I think maybe it was crafty insofar as it turned the race into a referendum on his own redemption. People like to see someone they once cared about redeemed. If he wins tonight, that’s how he’ll spin the victory. It’s a clever pitch, even if it amounts to little more than asking SC-1 to reward him with high office for showing basic human contrition over what he did to his family.

Ed previewed the race this morning. Sanford’s the favorite tonight, having won 37 percent in the first round of the primary two weeks ago amid a huge field of candidates, but no one knows how that’ll shake out now that he’s down to a binary choice with Curtis Bostic. What happens to the 63 percent that he didn’t win? Do they split between the two on the merits or do they unite in an anti-Sanford vote? I haven’t seen a page for election returns yet but I assume The State, Politico, and/or WCSC will have the numbers posted on their respective front pages once the polls close.

Update: Politico will have live results right here. And the AP has results here county by county.

Update (Erika): Oh, this is happening, all right — today, we spell redemption M-A-R-K, apparently. With 78 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press is calling it for Sanford with over 55 percent of the vote.

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023