Mark Sanford, Elizabeth Colbert Busch to Battle For South Carolina House Seat

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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.

"I want to thank my God," Sanford said. "I used to cringe when somebody would say, 'I want to thank my God' ... I would think this is getting uncomfortable."

"But once you really receive God's grace and (have) seen it reflected in others you stop and acknowledge that grace and the difference He has made in my life."

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Democratic primary winner, said in a statement:

"I look forward to a vigorous campaign focused on creating jobs, balancing our budget and choosing an independent-minded leader who shares the values of the great people of South Carolina."

Colbert Busch once worked in Washington as an intern for then-U.S. Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC) and has had a lifelong dream of running for public office.

She is currently on a leave of absence from her position as Director of Business Development for Clemson University’s Wind Turbine Drive Testing Facility.

The businesswoman has said jobs is a top priority for her campaign.

The U.S. House seat became vacant when Tim Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat of Jim DeMint, who resigned to take a private sector job.

Interestingly, both Stephen Colbert and Jenny Sanford were initially rumored as potential candidates for the House seat; each declined to run for office.

In the current matchup, Mark Sanford looks to have the edge in the Republican-leaning district he once represented before becoming the state's governor.

In special elections, however, you never can tell.

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