Former Gov. Mark Sanford leading endorsement race in 1st District primary runoff

Former Gov.Mark Sanford answer questions Tuesday at Charleston County precinct 7.( Leroy Burnell/ ) Buy this photo

Former Gov. Mark Sanford is leading in endorsements, cash and expectations as he heads into the final week of his runoff battle against former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic.

On Monday, Sanford picked up the endorsement of former Dorchester County Sheriff Ray Nash, who was one of the 16 GOP candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District race last week.

Sanford and Bostic came out on top, with 37 percent and 13 percent, respectively, to qualify for the April 2 runoff.

Sanford also said Monday that other endorsements from former candidates are in the works. “Stay tuned,” he said.

He already has been backed by former GOP candidates Keith Blandford, Jeff King, Sean Pinkston and Elizabeth Moffly. Bostic has been endorsed by former state Sen. John Kuhn.

Sanford also has a lead in cash raised and cash on hand, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission figures. Bostic has $56,542, as of its last report, compared with $271,765 for Sanford.

Sanford’s edge in endorsements and fundraising, on top of his superior March 19 showing, has given his bid for the GOP nomination an air of inevitability among some Republicans.

Asked what his greatest challenge was heading into the upcoming week, Sanford replied, “Elections are won one step at a time, so complacency is very much the thing you have to guard against.”

Nash said part of what won him over to Sanford was Sanford’s running a positive and transparent campaign, adding that Sanford, unlike Bostic, attended most every GOP candidate forum earlier this year.

In reference to Sanford’s well-known failings near the end of his second gubernatorial term, Nash said, “We all understand that good men can fall, but great men can seek to be restored. I firmly believe that his heart is right. ... The restoration process needs to start.”

The April 2 winner will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt on May 7.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.

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