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Democratic super-PAC launches air attack on Sanford

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The first attack in the campaign is a television ad that will air in the Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., media markets. It targets Sanford for alleged misuse of taxpayer funds for flights to France, China and Argentina.

"Republicans censured Sanford for misusing state aircraft. He paid over $70,000 in fines. You're now free to choose someone with our values," a narrator says in the ad, a spoof on the tagline of Southwest Airlines' advertisements.

Sanford is running against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

The ad also includes subtle references to Sanford's extramarital affair. It flashes a shot of clasped hands when noting his flight to Argentina, where he infamously disappeared in 2009 to meet his mistress, and features a shot of a teary-eyed Sanford during the press conference where he admitted to his affair.

Sanford disputed the ethics violations filed against him when he was governor. He notes that most of them were dismissed and said he paid a $74,000 fine to put the issue behind him, and that it wasn't an admission of guilt.

House Majority PAC's decision to feature the alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars more prominently than his affair is a reflection of the fact that some Democrats believe voters have, at this point, accepted the details of his affair.

The Sanford campaign and the South Carolina Republican Party also went up with an ad on Wednesday. But the former suffered a serious blow when national Republicans announced they'd be withdrawing from the race. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee's decision comes in the wake of leaked court documents that reveal Sanford's ex-wife, Jenny, is accusing him of trespassing on her property.

"Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time the NRCC will not be engaged in the special election," NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told The Hill.