Forgiving Trespasses

Just three weeks from a special congressional election that looks to be close, ex-SC Governor Mark Sanford is in the news in a bad way once again, as AP got hold of court documents from his ex-wife’s complaint that he was regularly trespassing on her property in directly violation of their divorce decree.

It’s an old familiar story: spouse gets caught cheating, loses big fancy house in divorce; gets aggrieved at “his” house being off-limits, and drops by now and then to assay the property when he thinks the ex may not be around.

According to the leaked court documents, Sanford’s most recent trespass was on February 3, 2013. He was already a candidate in the 1st district special primary by then. This is bad and illegal behavior in any event, but really stupid when you are running for Congress and your ex-wife is exponentially more popular that you are. Worse yet, this isn’t just going away. Sanford is now scheduled to face a judge on May 9, two days after the special election. So it will hang over the remainder of the campaign no matter what, and then Sanford will either be a congressman-elect who has to delay his trip to D.C. to be sworn in in order to crawl past his ex-wife into the presence of a stern judge–or he’ll be a rare loser of a safe Republican seat whose really bad week is about to take a turn for the worse.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.