The newly elected congressman knew exactly what we had in mind when we advanced on him and his date Wednesday night. “You want a photo?” He was totally cool with that. They posed and smiled, looking happy and at ease.

At last: Rep. Mark Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur were making their social debut in Washington.


Maria Belen Chapur and Rep. Mark Sanford at the RTCA dinner Wednesday. (Amy Argetsinger / The Washington Post)

We caught up with the former South Carolina governor and his fiancée — the woman of that suddenly long-ago “Appalachian Trail” disappearance scandal — at the Radio/TV Correspondents’ dinner at the National Building Museum. After years of lying low, they mingled comfortably in a room full of journalists and chatted so easily with us that we only waited a few minutes before asking. . .

Have you set a date yet?

“Aw, now, we’re off duty tonight!” Sanford protested, jovially.

Well, speak for yourself. More pleasant pleasantries — Belen Chapur told us that Washington “is wonderful” — and so it was just natural to inquire. . .

Are you moving here?

“Hey! She’s trying to make news here!” Sanford groaned. Meaning: They sure weren’t going to tell us. But smiles all around.

Updated — more from the party: Radio/TV Correspondents dinner: Bon temps rouler, even without the president

Earlier: Maria Belen Chapur attends Mark Sanford’s swearing-in, 5/15/13

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