The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pounced on former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Thursday, going on the air in the state's 1st congressional district with an ad attacking the beleaguered House candidate.
The DCCC ad hits Sanford (R) over his alleged ethics violations as governor, and it comes a day after the group's GOP counterpart — the National Republican Congressional Committee — abandoned the candidate in the midst of allegations he trespassed in his ex-wife's home.
The DCCC is spending about $205,000 on the ad, which will run on broadcast television stations in the Charleston and Savannah, Ga., markets April 19-28, according to a committee source.
Though the ad makes no overt mention of Sanford's 2009 extramarital affair, it features a man walking through the woods, a veiled reference to the alibi Sanford gave when he disappeared to Argentina to meet his mistress. Sanford had told aides he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
The ad's narrator says Sanford "walked out on us, violated our trust, secretly used thousands of taxpayer dollars flying to Argentina and then lied about it."
"Sanford paid the largest ethics fine in state history. Now he wants our trust again? Maybe Mark Sanford should just keep walking," the narrator says.
It's the second on-air attack launched by a Democratic group this week. House Majority PAC on Wednesday began a three-week, six-figure media campaign against the former governor.
The campaign started with an ad that also hammers Sanford for alleged ethics violations and a $74,000 fine he paid to settle the ethics complaints.
Sanford released his own ad on Wednesday, but he won't be receiving any help from the NRCC to respond to the Democrats' onslaught. The GOP campaign committee withdrew from the race Wednesday, following the release of leaked court documents that reveal Sanford's ex-wife, Jenny, is accusing him of repeatedly trespassing at her home in Sullivan Island, S.C.
Sanford will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, in a May 7 special House election to fill the seat vacated when former Rep. Tim Scott (R) was appointed to the Senate.
DCCC communications director Jesse Ferguson suggested that Republicans lost their chance at winning in the solidly red district, which GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won by 19 points, by nominating a weak candidate.
“This is an overwhelmingly Republican district that has become competitive because Republicans yet again nominated a flawed candidate. The DCCC will aggressively compete in uphill fights even in the most Republican territory," Ferguson said.
Watch the ad: