Sanford looking at potential campaign HQ space

Former governor Mark Sanford visited the former Tellis pharmacy space in downtown Charleston on Thursday January 10, 2013. The space is large enough to host a campaign headquarters for a possible run for Congress. (Schuyler Kropf/ Buy this photo

A run for Congress seems more likely for former Gov. Mark Sanford, who visited a spot for a potential campaign headquarters in downtown Charleston Thursday where he said his fiancee and sons would support a bid.

“Positive, on both sides,” Sanford said in the parking lot of the former Tellis Pharmacy on King Street, near Broad Street.

Should he launch a congressional campaign, Sanford said he hoped state voters would look past the infidelity that clouded his time as governor that ended with his second term in 2010.

“That’s obviously the verdict of what an election like this would be about,” he said.

A decision on officially committing to a GOP primary run is probably still a few days away, he said.

The filing period for the open 1st Congressional District seat, which Sanford held before becoming governor, officially opens Jan. 18. The field is expected to be large to fill the vacancy created when former U.S. Rep Tim Scott was elevated to U.S. senator by Gov. Nikki Haley in the wake of Jim DeMint’s resignation.

Sanford, who lives in the Dockside condominiums on Charleston Harbor, visited Tellis, a Charleston landmark that closed last summer after 60 years in business.

Co-owner Alice Tellis Critikos said Sanford was looking to be in the space “for a few months,” but that she would be willing to let him lease the site for as long as he wanted.

A potential Sanford bid would come after his aspirations of higher office appeared to have been derailed by his 2009 affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Chapur. The pair is now engaged.

Sanford, 52, is the father of four sons from his first marriage to former first lady Jenny Sanford.

The 1st District includes most of the Charleston area and stretches south along the coast.

Sanford said if he does run, he would return to his themes of curbing debt and spending in Washington.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.

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