He's back: Mark Sanford defeated Elizabeth Colbert Busch tonight in the special election for a congressional seat in South Carolina. The AP called the race with 71% of precincts reporting and Sanford drawing 54% of the vote. It's a huge comeback for the former governor and congressman—in fact, he's getting his old seat back—whose political career went off the rails four years ago in that mistress/Appalachian Trail mess. Colbert Busch got a big push in traditional GOP territory with help from brother Stephen Colbert.
“I think you can go back in and you can ask for a second chance in a political sense once,” Sanford said earlier today after voting. “I’ve done that, and we’ll see what the voters say.” How did he manage it? At Slate, Dave Weigel writes that Sanford has spent the last five months relentlessly, and very politely, chatting up the populace and winning over voters with his nice-guy charm. (Read more Mark Sanford stories.)