Mark Sanford is the Governor of South Carolina. From 1994 to 2000, he served as the Republican representative in the U.S. House of...

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Mark Sanford won back his old seat in the U.S. House, edging Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the older sister of Stephen Colbert, in a South Carolina special election.

Mark Sanford, Elizabeth Colbert Busch

The state's former two-term Republican governor overcame a series of missteps to earn about 54 percent of the vote in the conservative-leaning district.

Elizabeth Colbert Busch would have been the first Democrat to represent South Carolina's 1st congressional district in 30 years, but came up just short.

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Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford won a runoff Tuesday for the GOP nomination for the vacant U.S. House seat he once held for three terms.

In May, the Republican will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, in a special election for U.S. Congress.

Sanford, Busch

"It's been a very long journey, and I am humbled to find ourselves where we find ourselves tonight," said Sanford, whose political career once looked doomed.

As sitting governor, he disappeared from the state only to return to acknowledge an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Belen Chapur.

Chapur and Sanford, who has four sons with ex-wife Jenny Sanford, are now engaged. Chapur appeared at Sanford's side during his victory speech.

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Jenny Sanford, the estranged wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, announced she is filing for divorce following his now-infamous affair this summer.

Mark Sanford admitted an extramarital affair with Maria Belen Chapur, an Argentinian woman, after flying down to see her in secret (he thought) in June.

In August, Jenny Sanford moved out, but said she still hoped to reconcile with her husband, with whom she has four sons. But those efforts were in vain.

"As so many of us know, the dissolution of any marriage is a sad and painful process. It is also a very personal and private one," she said in a statement.

"Because Mark and I are public figures, we have had less privacy with which to deal with our difficulties than other couples. I am now filing for divorce."

Jenny Sanford couldn't get past her husband's cheating and lying.

"This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family.”

Once considered a potential GOP presidential contender for 2012, Mark Sanford refused to comment on Jenny's divorce filing earlier this morning.

Mark disappeared for several days in June, saying he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It turned out he flew to Argentina to be with his lover.

His tearful confession when the tryst with Maria Belen Chapur became known shattered his political career and nearly led to his impeachment.

If they couldn't make it work with after one affair, that doesn't bode well for Tiger Woods saving his marriage after racking up a list of mistresses.

Maria Belen Chapur Picture

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and mistress Maria Belen Chapur.

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Jenny Sanford, scorned wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, has become a heroine, a graceful figure in the face of his tawdry affair with Maria Belen Chapur.

Her public response to her husband's strange liaison led the Washington Post to call her a "role model," and Newsweek to deem Mrs. Sanford a "media genius."

Back in June, when Mark Sanford publicly and tearfully admitted that he had not been traveling along the Appalachian Trail, as he claimed, but in fact traipsing around Argentina with mistress Maria Belen Chapur, Jenny was cool and composed.

Jenny (along with her sons) has since moved out of the governor's mansion, but the former investment banker and mother of four vows to give Mark a chance.

She recently sat down with Vogue Magazine to talk about being a politician's wife and how she's dealing with her husband's public infidelity. Some excerpts:

Jenny Sanford: Vogue

On understanding her husband's affair: "It became clear to me that he was just obsessed with going to see this woman. I have learned that these affairs are almost like an addiction to alcohol or pornography. They just can’t break away."

"Everybody would like an escape sometimes. I’d like somebody 5,000 miles away I could E-mail. It’s not exclusive to men, but I know that isn’t realistic."

On Mark's mistress, Maria Belen Chapur: "I feel sorry for the other woman. I am sure she is a fine person. It can't be fun for her, though I do sometimes question her judgment. All I can do is pray for her because she made some poor choices."

On the beginning of her marriage to Mark Sanford: "We weren't madly in love, but we were compatible and good friends  ... I like to think we balance each other out. I am a conservative at heart, but I’m not passionate about ideas like he is."

On the next step: "All I can do is forgive. Reconciliation is going to be a harder road. I have put my heart and soul into being a good mother and wife. Now it’s up to my husband to do the soul-searching to see if he wants to stay married."

Maria Belen Chapur Picture

Jenny Sanford, left, and "other woman" Maria Belen Chapur.

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Jenny Sanford, the wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, has moved out of the official governor's residence with their four sons as of this morning.

This comes a little more than a month after Mark Sanford admitted an affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Belen Chapur, calling her his "soul mate."

Jenny Sanford and several other women moved boxes from the governor's mansion in Columbia, S.C. In a statement, Jenny said she was heading to the family home on Sullivans Island, some 120 miles east, for the upcoming school year.

"We will work to continue the process of healing our family," she said.

"While we will be leaving Columbia, I will remain engaged in activities in my role as First Lady, acknowledging that my responsibilities to my family come first."

Gov. Mark Sanford says he supports his wife's decision to move out of the governor's mansion, just weeks after he admitted to an affair with another woman.

The governor says the decision was best for the couple's reconciliation. In July, the couple and their children returned this week from a trip to Europe.

The boys had attended a private school in Columbia.

Jenny Sanford is a former Wall Street vice president who helped launch her husband's political career only to endure his tearful public confession in June.

She had separated from her husband and sought refuge with her sons at the couple's coastal home before news of his affair with Maria Belen Chapur broke.

Mark Sanford lied about his whereabouts and went off the grid, traveling to Argentina to see Chapur. This was exposed, along with his racy emails to her.

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The South Carolina Republican Party voted to censure embattled Gov. Mark Sanford for disappearing from the state to visit a mistress in Argentina.

But the party did not call for his resignation, an indication that Sanford may be able to hold on to power for the remaining 18 months of his term.

We just hope his racy emails go into the state's official archives.

Party leaders were divided during a closed-door meeting, with 22 members voting to censure Sanford, 10 calling for his resignation, and nine for no action.

The censure resolution states that a "formal admonishment" is necessary and that "barring further revelations" it will be the "last word on the matter."

So basically, because Mark Sanford was shady but probably didn't break any laws, and received a timely media-distracting boost from Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson, he's totally in the clear! Woo hoo! That was a close one!

"Today has brought a large measure of resolution to a sad chapter in our state party's history," state party chairman Karen Floyd said in a statement. "Republicans came together to speak with a unified voice, and now is the time for healing."

A Mark Sanford spokesman told reporters that "the governor fully appreciates the party's position and intends to work diligently to earn back its trust."

Funny, he made the same statement last week, only inserting "wife" instead of "party." No word if Jenny Sanford intends on making him "resign" as husband.

The party's reprimand comes nearly two weeks after Sanford returned from a secretive trip to Argentina and admitted his affair with Maria Belen Chapur.

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The wife of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford called his affair with an Argentine woman "inexcusable" but said she is willing to forgive him.

Jenny Sanford's statement was her first public comment since Mark said his mistress is his soul mate but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife.

"My forgiveness is essential for us both to move on with our lives, with peace, in whatever direction that may be," Jenny Sanford said in the statement.

"Mark has stated to me that his only intent and determination is to save our marriage, and to make amends to the people of South Carolina. I hope he can make good on those intentions, and for the sake of our boys."

Jenny Sanford said it is up to South Carolina voters and elected officials to decide whether they can "give Mark another chance."

Mark Sanford returned last week from a secret trip to Argentina to see his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur. His staff had told the public he was hiking the Appalachian Trail alone, and he later apologized for misleading them.

Jenny Sanford said she learned of the affair in January when she discovered a letter Sanford had written to Chapur. She said he had repeatedly asked permission to go to Argentina to see Maria Belen Chapur, but she did not permit it.

Spokesman Joel Sawyer said Mark "remains determined to repair the damage he has done in his marriage and to the trust of the people of South Carolina."

The embattled Republican has brushed aside calls to resign as state police announced they had found the governor used no taxpayer money to see Maria Belen Chapur during two visits to Argentina and three meetings in New York City.

Should Jenny Sanford forgive Mark Sanford?

 

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Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina disclosed that he had casual encounters with other women before starting a relationship last year with an Argentinian woman, Maria Belen Chapur, whose affair with him become public last week.

But Sanford, in an interview with the AP Tuesday, said that he only had "some physical contact" with the other women, and had sex only with Maria Belen Chapur.

“This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story,” Sanford said. “A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”

He did not offer details about his relationships with other women.

In the interview, the disgraced governor admitted he and Chapur first met in 2001 and that he had traveled to New York twice last year for romantic getaways.

He said that after his wife, Jenny Sanford, discovered the affair, he made another trip to New York earlier this year, with her permission, to end the relationship. Sanford said he was accompanied on that trip by a spiritual adviser.

But last month he flew to Argentina to see Maria Belen Chapur again, a trip that led to the public revelations of the affair and one teary news conference.

The series of disclosures - including the fact that Jenny Sanford forbade him from going on the recent rip - have him holding onto his office by a thread.

“The governor, you know, should know better,” said Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican Party, to Fox News. “That’s not what leadership is about.”

Steele stopped short of calling for Mr. Sanford’s resignation.

The affair is perhaps most notable for the series of Mark Sanford emails written to Chapur that were obtained by The State newspaper in South Carolina.

These reveal beyond any doubt that this was more than a one-time flig - and that for a political hardass, Mark Sanford can be one cheesy S.O.B.!

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Maria Belen Chapur is 43.

She is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is a divorced mother of two teenage boys who wants to believe she can still experience true love.

She is an intensely private woman, and one who was not afraid to fight back when she felt that her all-important privacy had been breached.

She was educated in Catholic schools and has professed her belief in God, evil and the afterlife, and yet joined Mark Sanford, a married father of four sons, in violating the Seventh Commandment prohibition against adultery.

Maria Belen Chapur has successfully eluded the news media since the South Carolina Governor publicly and tearfully revealed their yearlong affair last week.

Friends and family have enfolded her and her boys in a protective cocoon, and the only known image of her is a grainy, eight-year-old video from her brief moment in front of the cameras as a television reporter in New York.

Other than a 200-word statement denouncing a hacker's "evil act" of leaking her passionate emails with Sanford, Maria Chapur has maintained her silence.

"I won't speak about my private life as it just belongs to me," she wrote to a former TV colleague, after confirming her affair with Sanford via a statement.

"It has already been made too public in these days, bringing me more pain."

Due partly to the loyalty of friends and family, as well as tougher Argentine privacy laws, relatively little is known about Mark Sanford's "other woman."

In fact, much of what we know about Chapur comes from her own emails, which found their way into the hands of South Carolina's The State newspaper.

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The mysterious Argentine woman at the center of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's cheating scandal has officially confessed to her relationship with him.

Maria Belen Chapur, 41, sent a statement to Buenos Aires news network C5n.

In it, she admits she and the married Mark Sanford, 48, have a relationship.

Maria Belen Chapur says she refuses to speak on her private life in greater detail and that the 200-word statement is all she plans on saying about it.

Yesterday, we reported how Mark's estranged wife, Jenny Sanford, was aware of Mark's affair with Maria and asked the Governor to dump his mistress.

This was before he went AWOL last week and embarked on his not-so-secret journey to South America to see her, which ultimately exposed the affair.

After telling his staff he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, Sanford went off the grid and traveled to Argentina. The State newspaper in South Carolina accosted him at the Atlanta airport upon his return, after which he admitted his affair.

Follow the jump for the official statement of Maria Belen Chapur, in which she addresses the affair as well as Sanford's emails to her that were leaked ...

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Mark Sanford Biography

Mark Sanford, Elizabeth Colbert Busch Mark Sanford is the Governor of South Carolina. From 1994 to 2000, he served as the Republican representative in the U.S. House of... More »
Born
Birthplace
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Full Name
Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr.
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