Mark Sanford Loses Republican Support For His Congressional Bid

Aug. 28, 2012: Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Aug. 28, 2012: Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.  (AP)

What looked like a miraculous comeback for former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford hit the skids Wednesday.

A decision first reported by the news website Politico, the National Republican Congressional Committee says it's not spending any additional money to support Sanford's bid for a congressional seat.

The NRCC made its move hours after The Associated Press reported that his ex-wife Jenny Sanford had filed a court complaint accusing the former governor of trespassing at her home on Sullivan's Island.

The Sanfords divorced in 2010 after it became public that he secretly left the state to be with his Argentine mistress. Mark Sanford and that woman, Maria Chapur, are now engaged. 

Sanford said Wednesday he visited his ex-wife's home while she was out of town because he didn't want his 14-year-old son to watch the Super Bowl alone. She says the visit violated their divorce settlement.

A day earlier, Jenny Sanford confirmed the authenticity of court documents obtained by The Associated Press that say her ex-husband violated their divorce settlement by repeatedly visiting her Sullivan's Island home — most recently on Feb. 3, using his cell phone as a flashlight. He has been ordered to appear at a court hearing on May 9, two days after the election.

As for the Sanford’s trespassing issues, both are still pleading their assessment of the situation.

Sanford issued a statement Wednesday characterizing the matter as a disagreement.

"I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone," Sanford said. "Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened."

The couple's divorce settlement says neither may enter the other's home without permission. Mark Sanford lives about a 20-minute drive away from Sullivan's Island in downtown Charleston.

Jenny Sanford said the complaint, and the timing of the hearing, has nothing to do with her husband's attempt to rebuild his political career by winning the congressional seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.

At the hearing, Sanford will have to show why he should not be held in contempt for violating the couple's divorce settlement.

"I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race," Jenny Sanford, who for a time considered running herself, told the AP. "I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I'm trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing."

Sanford's opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch — the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert — has taken the high road refusing to comment on the development.

She was asked several times by reporters after she visiting patrons having lunch at a Mount Pleasant diner.

"We're going to focus on the positive message of job creation for this district," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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