Rep. Clyburn: Sanford ‘needs to answer for’ ethics report, not affair

"I suspect that the Colbert campaign is probably going to highlight that ethics report and things in there which I do believe that Mark Sanford needs to answer for," said Clyburn, who supports Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

Clyburn said he didn’t believe that Sanford’s 2009 disappearance and extramarital affair would be a focus of the race.

"Yes, God is a forgiving God, but he will not be voting — or she will not be voting — in this election. I think that the voters are going to make this determination and voters are concerned about ethics, and so I think that's an issue that he's going to have to face," Clyburn said.

"His disappearance I don't think is going to be an issue, but when you look at the ethics report, I don't think many people have looked very hard at the ethics report," he added.

Sanford's political career took an unexpected turn when he disappeared for days in 2009 while serving as governor. He initially said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but eventually revealed that he had been seeing his Argentine mistress, now his fiancé. On Tuesday Sanford won the Republican nomination in the special election for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

Sanford was investigated by South Carolina's attorney general for any illegal activity surrounding his disappearance. He eventually paid a settlement to resolve charges that his personal travel and spending violated state ethics laws, but denied any wrongdoing.

South Forward, a Democratic group, has already begun airing ads focusing on Sanford's alleged misuse of taxpayer funds and his pledge on term limits that the former governor made when he served in the House in the 1990s.