The National Republican Congressional Committee put out a statement in the wake of reports concerning Mark Sanford’s alleged trespassing at his ex-wife’s home: “Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election.” The first sentence is bizarre, but the decision is undeniably the right one for the GOP.
According to CNN, this was not an isolated incident for Sanford:
Mark Sanford has “entered into a pattern of entering onto Plaintiff’s property, both at her former and current residences, without her permission and against her wishes,” according to a complaint filed in Charleston County family court on March 21. It asks that Mark Sanford be held in contempt of court.
Jenny Sanford has informed Mark Sanford “on a number of occasions that this behavior is in violation of the court’s order, and has demanded that it not occur again,” the complaint reads. The document does not include details about previous trespassing accusations.
CNN has also obtained a “formal notice” sent to Mark in Feb. 2011 by Jenny Sanford’s attorney, Deena Smith McRackan, warning him not to enter the Sullivan’s Island residence without permission.
This, if true, is not only disqualifying for public office but grounds for worry about his stability. Really, what motivates this man?
It’s not like we didn’t spot the Sanford disaster coming down the pike. That said, however, Republicans are smart to cut their losses. A former high-ranking state party official e-mails me, “Everyone wants that seat again. All the others will run … again, and in a midterm where Nikki [Haley] is up, [Sen. Tim] Scott is up etc. [the] GOP will have great chance to take back the seat.”
A social conservative group’s leader said the organization is ready “to see what other options would be available to voters.” Well, staying home would be one.
The GOP has a rotten habit of recycling failed candidates well past their prime (e.g. George Allen, Tommy Thompson). Unless it breaks this habit, it will turn out more duds and bear the image of an inept party.
UPDATE (3:35 p.m.): Penny Nance, head of Concerned Women for America, e-mails me: “Clearly the good people of South Carolina were not given all the information before voting for Mark Sanford. Unfortunately his opponent is out of step with social conservatives in the district. It seems to me that the only other course of action is to write in another name on election day if indeed South Carolina law allows. CWA’s staff is still checking the legalities but I gotta say, Congresswoman Jenny Sanford has a nice ring to it. I know I wouldn’t be able to vote for Mark.” We will see if others join her.