Colbert Busch jabs Sanford on Argentina in SC-1 debate
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- In the first and only debate ahead of the May 7 special 1st Congressional District election, the two candidate sparred on guns, unions, the port and their personal lives.
While SC Patch Political Editor Shawn Drury told ABCNews4 last week that questions about the candidates' personal lives would not be asked, the format did not prevent the candidates from bringing it up.
During one comment, Elizabeth Colbert Busch jabbed former Gov. Mark Sanford on his affair with an Argentinean woman while he served as governor. In 2009, Sanford admitted to traveling to South America to be with his mistress, an act that eventually led to ethics fines for Sanford.
Colbert Busch touched on the incident, saying, "it doesn't mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose," while talking about fiscal responsibility.
Sanford brought up the affair, too.
""You don't go through the experience I had back in 2009 without a greater level of humility," he said.
The moderator at one point asked Sanford if he regretted voting for President Bill Clinton's impeachment. Sanford jabbed back at the moderator with his own question.
"I would reverse the question to you and I would say this: Do you think that President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?" he asked.
Sanford's primary case against Colbert Busch was in linking her to national Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi. Sanford argued that Colbert Busch would be unwilling to go against the wishes of the national party.
Yet, Colbert Busch spent much of the night working to get some distance between her and the party by defining Obamacare as "problematic" and laws that protect South Carolina as a right to work state.
"Nobody tells me what to do except the people of South Carolina's First District," she said.
Colbert Busch cited her business experience and criticized Sanford for voting in Congress against harbor dredging and building a higher bridge for the Port of Charleston. He countered that she must not have been too bothered by it because she gave $500 to his gubernatorial campaign.
The Democrat responded that Sanford had told her he supported trade and dredging. She then turned to him and said, "You didn't tell the truth."
The crowd proved to be raucous, warranting some warnings from the trio of moderators, but the warnings did little to curb the booing and cheers heard throughout the debate.
However, both candidates felt confident coming out of the debate hall at The Citadel.
"I rocked it. I rocked it. I felt so comfortable," Colbert Busch said.
"Elizabeth won tonight's debate on the merits - she showed voters of this district that she's a tough and independent businesswoman who will create jobs, get our fiscal house in order and be a representative who they can really trust," said Bill Romjue, campaign manager.
Sanford said it was up to the voters to decide how he did.
"Governor Sanford demonstrated to voters tonight his deep understanding of the need to solve the massive debt facing our countryafter all, it's something he's been fighting for his entire career," said state party chair Chad Connelly.
Both candidates will meet up yet again tomorrow for forum put on by the Goose Creek NAACP.