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National GOP backs off Mark Sanford's campaign

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Just two weeks after he won the Republican nomination in a special House election, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's bid for a political comeback veered back into weirdness Wednesday, amid revelations that his former wife is taking him to court for trespassing and that the national GOP is washing its hands of his candidacy.

Sanford's strong victory in the April 2 primary had made him the presumptive favorite in this heavily Republican congressional district. It was also read as a sign that he had begun to find redemption after the spectacular 2009 adultery scandal that ended his marriage, and put his governorship in jeopardy.

A new round of setbacks began when the Associated Press reported that Sanford and his ex-wife Jenny Sanford were due to appear in court on May 9, just two days after the special election to fill a vacant House seat that Sanford himself once held.

Sanford has been ordered to appear at a hearing on his ex-wife's complaint that she caught him leaving her house in February, using his phone as a flashlight.

The National Republican Congressional Committee took the unusual step Wednesday of telegraphing it will not spend money on his special election campaign.

"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," it said in a statement.

National GOP backs off Mark Sanford's campaign 04/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:55pm]
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