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Democratic group launching ads hitting Sanford on ethics

A Democratic outside group on Tuesday launched ads attacking former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's (R) ethics as he seeks to return to Congress in a special House election next month.

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The ad focuses on Sanford's term-limits pledge while he was in the House in the 1990s and his alleged misuse of taxpayer money, which Democrats say will be the primary focus of their campaign attacks against him, rather than his marital infidelity. 

"Mark Sanford promised he'd only serve three terms in Congress. He promised he'd never misuse taxpayer money," the ad's narrator says. 

"Mark Sanford made a lot of promises and broke them all. Now Mark Sanford says he's 'learned' from his mistakes. The real question is: Will we?"

The group, South Forward, plans to put the ad on the air next week on cable and possibly network television. 


A spokesman said it will spend six figures to do so, a significant ad buy in the inexpensive district. The ad is part of a campaign the group is calling "forgive, not forget" — and the group promises it's just the first they'll run against the former governor.

Sanford won the Republican primary on Tuesday for the special election in South Carolina's 1st congressional district, vacated when former Rep. Tim Scott (R) was appointed to the Senate. He will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the May 7 general election.

In 2009, Sanford admitted to conducting an extrramarital affair with an Argentinian woman after initially telling staff he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail.