Disgraced former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is reentering the political limelight with a run for Congress three and half years after he was famously caught cheating on his wife with an Argentinian journalist.
Sanford is expected to announce his bid for South Carolina’s open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives this week, the Weekly Standard reported, citing sources close to Sanford.
In a twist, Sanford’s ex-wife is also rumored to be considering a run for the House seat, which was left vacant by Tim Scott when he was appointed to the Senate. Scott replaced Sen. Jim DeMint, who left the Capitol this month to run The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.
Mark Sanford once held the House seat himself, from 1995 to 2001. He did not run for reelection in 2000 and instead ran for governor. Sanford won the 2002 gubernatorial election and was successfully reelected in 2006.
He was once thought to be a potential 2012 presidential contender, but his political aspirations were dashed when he was caught cheating on his wife in 2009.
The scandal surfaced after Sanford, a father of four, mysteriously vanished on June 18, 2009 for six days. Sanford had told his staff that he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but in reality, he was off in Buenos Aires cavorting with his Argentinian mistress, Maria Belen Chapur.
His hiking story eventually foiled and his affair was revealed.
He later admitted to visiting Chapur and said Chapur was his ‘soul mate.’
‘I’ve been unfaithful to my wife,’ Sanford said at the time. ‘I developed a relationship with what started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina.’
Sanford said he wanted to try and mend his relationship with Jenny, his wife of 21 years, but she filed for divorce shortly thereafter.
Sanford’s affair didn’t stop him from seeing out the end of his term for governor after South Carolina lawmakers unsuccessfully called for his impeachment following the revelations.
He was eventually forced to pay $74,000 in ethics fines after the state ethics commission discovered Sanford’s use of state planes and campaign cash to orchestrate his affair.
Sanford is currently engaged Chapur.