The 1st Congressional District’s war of words escalated Tuesday — two weeks before the special election — even as the candidates made no public appearances in the Charleston area.

Republican Mark Sanford, who spent the day campaigning around Beaufort, launched a new television ad renewing his attack on Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for accepting campaign money from organized labor. The ad features a video snippet of her saying, “The voices of the union are not being heard.”

Colbert Busch returned from a New York fundraiser Tuesday and plans two big events today, one with Republicans supporting her and another 5:45 p.m. rally for women at Burke High School.

And she got help this week from a new outside source: A TV ad by the nonprofit group VoteVets attacks Sanford for leaving his gubernatorial office in 2009 and not telling his staff where he was going.

The ad, part of a separate $30,000 campaign, features retired U.S. Army Col. Barry Wingard, saying, “Mark Sanford abandoned his post. No one, not even law enforcement or the National Guard could reach him,” he said. “If I had abandoned my post, I could have been court-martialed.”

During a campaign stop Tuesday in Beaufort County, Sanford amended his version of events the night of Feb. 3, saying a second son was at his ex-wife Jenny’s Sullivan’s Island house that night during half-time after a Super Bowl party, according to the Island Packet.

Sanford previously said he was at the home because he didn’t want his youngest son to watch the Super Bowl alone. He currently faces a Family Court date on May 9, two days after the special election, to answer allegations he was trespassing that night.

The incident has scuttled Sanford’s support among Republican groups outside the district — The Daily Caller reported that Republican members of the South Carolina congressional delegation canceled their planned appearances at a Washington luncheon for Sanford this week.

Colbert Busch is expected to receive more than $600,000 worth of help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Majority PAC and VoteVets.

Meanwhile, Sanford’s campaign questioned her claim in a new TV ad that she “worked with Boeing.”

Sanford often has mentioned how he helped recruit Boeing as governor, and both candidates have sparred over who would vote most consistently in its interests.

Colbert Busch spokesman James Smith said in her most recent job as Clemson Restoration Institute’s development director, she has worked with The Citadel, Trident Technical College and others to develop curriculum that Boeing needs so Lowcountry students can qualify for its new jobs.

The candidates are scheduled to debate on April 29, and they also both will appear the next night before the Goose Creek NAACP, though they are not expected to share a stage but address the group one at a time.