Jenny Horne announces bid to challenge Sanford for Congress

State Rep. Jenny Horne R-Summerville

State Rep. Jenny Horne of Summerville derided Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford’s paltry record of accomplishments in launching a long-shot campaign to unseat the 1st District incumbent in next year’s GOP primary.

“It’s time for results,” she said Friday. “And results are something that Mark Sanford has not given us.”

Horne, who faces a huge financial hurdle in terms of available campaign funds, said Sanford’s career has been defined by voting “no” in Washington rather than results.

She cited his vote against funding for the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge when he first served in Congress from 1994-2000, and his no votes on defense budget bills at a time when Charleston’s economy and employment was dependent upon the military.

This week, Sanford was among those who voted against the defense budget in the House. Among his concerns was the measure broke the spending caps created by the Budget Control Act, commonly known as sequestration. The vote was 370-58 for the measure, which authorizes more than $600 billion in defense spending.

Horne also pointed out that Sanford was the only member of Congress to vote against renewing the Violence Against Women Act during his first tenure in Washington in 2000. The effort was designed to protect women from domestic violence by providing shelters and other relief, while also going after international trafficking that was forcing thousands of women into prostitution and sexual slavery. It passed by a margin of 371-1.

“Sanford has made a career out of voting ‘no’ in Congress,” Horne said. “While that may seem like a successful career to him, it certainly has given us little in terms of results.”

Horne, an attorney, has represented Summerville in the Legislature since 2008. She conceded fundraising is going to have to be “a big part” of what she’ll have to focus on next. Sanford’s most recent campaign disclosure listed nearly $740,000 in re-election funds available.

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Sanford, the state’s former governor, has represented the 1st District since 2013. He returned to Congress that year after winning a heated, multi-candidate Republican primary after then-incumbent Tim Scott was picked by Gov. Nikki Haley to fill a U.S. Senate seat vacancy.

Several of the issues Horne is raising now were previously exposed by Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who ran unsuccessfully against Sanford in 2013. During one debate, Colbert Busch tried to capitalize on Sanford voting against harbor dredging and building the new higher bridge over the Cooper River between Charleston and Mount Pleasant.

Sanford has explained his opposition was based on being against earmarks in Washington.

In response to Horne’s announcement, Sanford said he believed “a conservative approach to government fits with the majority perspective of the 1st District,” and that he was looking forward to discussing and also debating ideas in the race.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at (843) 937-5551.