By Meghashyam Mali - 05/07/13 11:57 AM EDT
Polls put Sanford and Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a dead heat in the heavily GOP district.
Sanford has sought to pull off a political comeback by running for the former House seat of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) who was appointed to replace former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) who left the upper chamber to run the Heritage Foundation. Sanford also served three terms in the House before he was South Carolina governor.
Sanford on Tuesday said he believed he had addressed those past missteps to voters. He said his “deficiencies as a candidate and a human being” had been “well-chronicled” in the campaign. But he believed his “record of watching out for the taxpayer” would help swing the vote in his favor.
“We’ve begun to finally talk issues as opposed to personality and as opposed to going back to the events of 2009,” he said.
Sanford also said that his race had been “nationalized” and cautioned that a Colbert Busch victory could embolden Democratic efforts to retake the House.
“This is the first congressional special election since the president was reelected,” said Sanford. He said that if Democrats could “pull off the win here,” they could make the case to the “political investor community” to rally behind their 2014 efforts.
Sanford also addressed the contentious issues of gun control and immigration saying he would have opposed efforts to expand background check legislation and would not support the current bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill.
“I’m a big Second Amendment person, the present bill, Manchin-Toomey, I would have vetoed,” he said.
Sanford also said that the Gang of Eight immigration bill repeated the mistakes of immigration reform in the 1980s, which he said “offered amnesty” to those undocumented workers already in the country before securing the border.
“Ultimately the enforcement never came,” said Sanford.
“I think you’ve got to reverse it,” he added. “You’ve got to have enforcement first before amnesty.”