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Two candidates already have their eye on ousting Mark Sanford from Congress

Two candidates already have their eye on ousting Mark Sanford from Congress

Mid-term elections are still more than a year away, but two people clamoring for Republican Mark Sanford's seat in Congress are already on the campaign trail in hopes of unseating the long-time lawmaker next November.

"We need a stronger voice in Washington," said Katie Arrington, who announced in late August her plan to run against Sanford, a fellow Republican, for his 1st Congressional District seat.

Arrington, of Dorchester County, and Joe Cunningham, a Democrat, both are launching a long campaign to November 2018 in hopes of replacing Sanford.

"Part of that has to do with getting your name out there. Part of it has to do with raising money which is a precious commodity in politics," explained Dr. Scott Buchanan, a political science professor at The Citadel.

Buchanan isn't surprised to see early signs of a political campaign, especially after the results of the last congressional race.

"The fact that Sanford, an incumbent congressman, was even number one drawing a challenge. But number two that that challenger came within 11 points is a sign of weakness," said Buchanan.

Buchanan points to possible incumbent vulnerability because of Sanford's willingness to disagree with President Trump.

"Every time that he is critical of the president is undoubtedly causing some of those Trump supporters (to ask) do we need a new congressman?," Buchanan asked rhetorically.

Buchanan thinks GOP leaders endorsing a freshman house member like Katie Arrington is another sign of discomfort with Mark Sanford. Also, political newcomer Joe Cunningham needs to convince a conservative district to take a chance on him.

"If you think about it, get at least 6 and a half, 7 percent of those Republicans minimum to say yeah, I'm going to vote for a Democrat, that's a tall order," Buchanan said.

Voters have the next 14 months to make a decision.

Congressman Mark Sanford tells ABC News 4 he looks forward to a contest of ideas in the months ahead. He returns to Washington on Tuesday to begin a busy September.

Among the issues he says he'll tackle: dealing with the debt limit, government spending, and re-authorization of the national flood insurance program.

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