Reuters Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said on Sunday he is engaged to his Argentine girlfriend, Maria Belen Chapur.
In an ad for his bid to represent the state’s 1st Congressional district, Sanford has emerged from years of relative political seclusion by making reference to the scandal that wrecked his marriage and damaged his reputation.
"I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes, but in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it," Sanford says in the ad. "In that light, I humbly step forward and ask for your help in changing Washington.”
Sanford was a rising GOP star until June 2009, when he disappeared for days to take a secret trip to Argentina to visit a woman he later called his “soul mate” in an intderview. At the time, he told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Sanford and his wife divorced soon after. He is now engaged to his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur.
The former governor is one of 16 Republicans running in the primaries to replace Tim Scott, a Republican who in December was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat vacated by former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.
However, the race is also garnering attention due to the presence of another candidate vying for the Democratic nomination: Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.