Republican Mark Sanford jumped to an early lead over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch after early returns Tuesday night in South Carolina’s special congressional election.
With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Sanford was up 53.7 percent to 45.8 percent.
Sanford, waging a bid for political redemption three years after his fall from grace, went into the final day of the special election with a head of steam. Polls showed the former governor closing the gap with Colbert Busch, a Clemson University administrator and the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who just a couple of weeks ago looked poised for a major upset.
The former governor, who in 2009 lied about and then admitted to an extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman, spent the final day in a frenzied dash across the 1st Congressional District, which spans South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Once regarded as a viable potential presidential contender, Sanford has said the race will be his last if he falls short.