HILTON HEAD ISLAND — In their last joust before today's GOP runoff election, Curtis Bostic and Mark Sanford exchanged barbs as well as compliments in a joint appearance Monday.

The Republican 1st Congressional District hopefuls spent 90 minutes making their case at a luncheon meeting of about 100 likely voters.

Bostic, a former Charleston County councilman, quoted from Sanford's 13-year-old book, “The Trust Committed to Me,” about the value of sending amateurs, not career politicians, to Washington, D.C. Bostic noted he is the fresher face in the race.

But Sanford's deep roots in the Beaufort area were clear. State Sen. Tom Davis, who served as chief of staff when Sanford was governor, was front and center in the audience. Sanford's family has had a farm for decades in northern Beaufort County.

Bostic, who is a lawyer, was asked pointed questions about his stance on tort reform and why he has not filed his financial disclosure form outlining his economic interests.

Bostic said that form should be filed within a few days, and he said the tort reform that South Carolina passed under Sanford was not perfect because it protected only 22 different professional classes.

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Sanford agreed with Bostic's critique but also said politics is “the art of the possible,” adding, “I would grant Curtis' point that it wasn't a perfect bill, but I would say it was a whole lot better than doing nothing.”

Bostic praised Sanford for the way he has campaigned like “a Southern gentleman,” and Bostic said he agreed with many of Sanford's previous votes. Sanford also agreed with Bostic's answers at several points.

Beaufort County is at the southern tip of the 1st District and the only county that didn't give Sanford the most votes during the original March 19 primary.

State Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Hilton Head Island, won the county in that election two weeks ago, and he attended Monday's forum. He has not endorsed either candidate in the runoff.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.