National GOP Drops Sanford

Okay, I promise, no more posts about Mark Sanford today after this one, but I do feel constrained to report that his behavior towards his ex-wife has now cost him national party support, per this report by WaPo’s Karen Tumulty and Aaron Blake:

Following revelations that his ex-wife accused him of trespassing on her property earlier this year, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) has lost the support of his national party….

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday took the unusual step of telegraphing that 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,” the NRCC said in a statement, which was first reported by Politico.

A committee aide confirmed that the statement meant the committee is done with Sanford.

But separately from the Politico story, the WaPo crew confirms what many of us suspected on April 4:

[T]he Washington Post has learned that tensions within the family flared up as recently as April 2, at the celebration of Sanford’s runoff election victory when the former governor thrust two of his sons on-stage with the Argentine woman who was at the center of the spectacular sex scandal that broke up his marriage.

For Sanford’s teenage son Bolton, that very public moment marked the first time he had ever been in the presence of Maria Belen Chapur.

Sanford’s former wife Jenny confirmed in a text message: “That was indeed Bolton’s first intro and both boys were quite upset and visibly so.”

You may recall that Sanford himself told at least one reporter after this incident that Chapur had “surprised” him by showing up for the victory celebration. If so, he got over it fast enough to “surprise” his sons with the nice “new family” tableau for the airwaves which suggested everyone had gotten over the divorce and it was time to get back to pure right-wing politics.

You never know what will happen politically in a place like South Carolina, but Sanford’s finally starting to look pretty toasty (unless he goes medieval on Elizabeth Colbert Busch and there’s material available to drag her down into the gutter with him). National Republicans probably figure they can temporarily sacrifice the seat, put the Sanford Saga behind them, and then find a more electable hard-core conservative in 2014 to take the seat back. It’s unclear whether the final three weeks of the special election campaign will represent a long denouement or resemble the Thirty Years War. But Mark Sanford has definitely run out of excuses for screwing up his career and his life in so spectacular a fashion.

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.