Mark Sanford debates cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is taking a cardboard cutout of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) out on the campaign trail Wednesday, describing the prop as a stand-in for his Democratic opponent in the U.S. House race, Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

"My opponent continues to run a stealth campaign, avoiding public appearances and refusing to commit to televised forums for the benefit of 1st district voters,” Sanford said in a statement.

Pelosi is the best known and least liked leader in Congress, according to a new Gallup poll. So it's no surprise that Sanford would want to drag her (or a cardboard copy of her) into this Republican House district. The ex-governor still has a fighting chance in the May 7 special election, given the seat's red lean, but his personal foibles have made it a tough fight.

Mark Sanford. (AP Photo)
Mark Sanford with piglets. (AP Photo)

"While Mark Sanford continues his desperate campaign to deceive voters, Elizabeth Colbert Busch is spending her time with real people who support her campaign," responded Colbert Busch spokesman James Smith. "She doesn't have to resort to phony cardboard cutouts to talk with the people of South Carolina."

Colbert Busch has agreed to only one debate with Sanford, who wanted four. “I want to get to know the district," she told reporters. "I already know Mark.”

Sanford has some history with political props. In 2004, he brought two live piglets to the State House to protest legislative pork. Earlier this month, he joked that he later barbecued the pigs -- a spokesman clarified that Sanford was joking.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · April 24, 2013