By Cameron Joseph - 04/30/13 09:14 PM EDT
The Hustler publisher endorsed Sanford's House campaign on Tuesday, calling him the "sex pioneer of our time."
"No one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today. He is the man of the hour — the midnight hour," Flynt says in his endorsement posted online Tuesday afternoon. "He has demonstrated by his words and deeds that traditional values are shameful and that he will not live by such rules. As the bible teaches us: 'Ye shall know them by their fruits.' "
"Sanford's open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support," he continues. "His attack on sexual hypocrisy is the only issue in this campaign. It is what defines Mark Sanford. Placing sex at the top of the agenda, he continues his courageous fight, demanding forgiveness while brazenly hugging his mistress at campaign parties."
The National Republican Congressional Committee has refused to support Sanford following recent accusations from his ex-wife that he'd repeatedly trespassed at her home. The former governor derailed his political career in 2009 when he was caught having an affair with an Argentine woman after telling staff he was off hiking the Appalachian Trail. He's currently locked in a tight House race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.
Flynt isn't the only one capitalizing on Sanford's campaign. An online dating service that specializes in helping set up extramarital affairs is featuring the former governor in a South Carolina billboard campaign. "Next time, use AshleyMadison.com to find your 'running mate,' " the billboard says under a picture of Sanford.
Flynt, long an antagonist of religious conservatives, says the endorsement was not an "easy decision."
"Even though Mark Sanford has emerged as the leader against sexual hypocrisy in American politics, he is a liar," he says. "He lied to his gubernatorial staff. He lied to his wife. He lied to his children. He lied to the people of South Carolina and to the press. Despite his journey down this Appalachian Trail of deceit, I support him not for his character, but for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values. The liar has exposed the greater lie."
Flynt has tweaked other Republicans in the past, offering $1 million to then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to prove his "legitimate rape" claims in 2012.