By Meghashyam Mali - 02/18/13 01:43 PM EST
Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) unveiled his first ad in the race for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district, addressing the scandal which marred his term in office and vowing to help reform Washington.
“Washington’s math just doesn’t add up,” says Sanford, speaking directly to the camera in the ad titled “Change Washington.” “For years, while many have talked, I’ve fought to do something about it. I’ve cut spending, reduced debt and made government more accountable.
Sanford saw his political career derailed after he admitted an affair with an Argentine woman in 2009, while initially claiming he was taking time off to hike the Appalachian Trail.
He announced last month that he would reenter political life and run to fill the former House seat of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who was appointed to replace former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) who departed the upper chamber to run the Heritage Foundation. Sanford served three terms in the House before becoming South Carolina governor.
A number of Republicans have also declared their candidacies for the seat, but Sanford is expected to make the primary runoff.
Last week, he picked up a crucial conservative endorsement from Erick Erickson, the prominent Tea Party leader.
“Unlike his opponents, he has a stellar and uncompromising record as a limited government, pro-life, fiscal conservative. I am willing to forgive him. And I'm willing to be graceful,” wrote Erickson.
But many in the GOP have been reluctant to embrace the former governor, with National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Greg Walden declining to endorse him last week ahead of the primary.
“That’ll be up to South Carolinians to figure out who they think is the strongest nominee for that seat,” Walden said. “My goal is after they pick that person, to win that seat.”