By Dean Stephens firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Four years ago, he was front page news for all the wrong reasons, but after what he calls a period of reflection and quiet Mark Sanford is back.
"Hi. How are you? I'm Mark."
As Sanford walked into the Citadel Alumni house, he needed little introduction. The cameras are still there, even at the salad bar.
The former governor is back on the stump and back where he feels he belongs.
"My campaign guy said, 'You had that smile. You smiled throughout much of the debate and it appeared there was no place you'd rather be.' And he was exactly right," said Sanford talking about the 1st Congressional District debate.
Sanford's latest run for office has a different feel than years past.
"I've been in a spot where people don't really want to take their picture with me and I happen to be in a spot where someone would be so kind to ask to have their picture with me. Now it's a blessing," said Sanford.
We visited the former governor 18 months ago on his farm in Beaufort. The dust just started to settle on a political career derailed by his admitted personal failures.
"I wouldn't have anticipated in a million years when we had that conversation two years ago that I would be running for Congress but here we are," said Sanford.
And it's here at the farm where Sanford started to reconstruct his life.
"That year at the farm was probably one of the most remarkable years of my life with regards to the inner journey. Not much to show in the outer journey, other than what I showed you, wandering around the farm but magnificent in regards to the inner journey," said Sanford. "What I've come to believe is that there is a real value in stillness in a way that I never did before when I was busy, busy, busy."
The stillness of the farm was replaced by the desire to serve in D.C. for a second time, but at the end of the day, he knows where his roots lie.
"This is an area that I really love. The combination of summer afternoon breeze and Spanish moss blowing in the wind, the beach, the farm. This is home," said Sanford.
"Its been a remarkable journey come win, lose or draw next Tuesday."