Mark Sanford throws 'thank you' party for voters

By Nikki

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- Former governor and Congressman-elect Mark Sanford on Wednesday will be sworn into a familiar seat, representing the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina.

Sanford, of course, is no stranger to this position. He held it once before from 1995 to 2001.

Sanford said Monday night that he plans to leave Tuesday for Washington, D.C., and expects to be sworn in around 5 p.m. the following day. Before he leaves, he wanted to thank voters one last time for supporting him through the entire campaign.

On Monday, he held a "pre swearing-in" party at Molly Darcys in downtown Charleston to thank voters for giving him a second chance.

"Every one of you in different ways really contributed and made last Tuesday night a success," Sanford told those in attendance.

Deemed the "comeback kid," Sanford rose above an extramarital affair and ethics violations some critics deemed the end of his political career.

"I let a lot of people down in 2009. I've talked about that very publicly," Sanford said. "But I've been through a rather amazing journey in terms of experiencing, I think, people's grace which I think is a reflection of God's grace."

Making another rare public appearance Monday was his fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur.

"She's putting up with it," said Sanford when asked how she was handling his recent win.

As for the spotlight, his future bride copes with it quietly.

"She's a very private person and I think I'm going to respect that, and I think the voters will as well," said Sanford.

After he's sworn in Wednesday, Sanford says he plans to hit the ground running, focusing largely on the nation's huge debt crisis.

"Obviously, I'm going to focus on a lot of issues important here in the 1st Congressional District, but in terms of an area focus off the start -- it's going to be on government spending," said Sanford.

But first, he admits there's still a lot of prepping to do.

"We're trying to set up an office, hire staff, do all those things you got to do -- so we're trying to get ahead of the curve," he said.