Democrats hit Sanford with ‘Appalachian Trail’ ad

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·Political Reporter
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The House Democratic campaign arm will air a new ad on Friday against South Carolina Republican House candidate Mark Sanford, attacking him for disappearing from the public eye to visit his then-mistress in Argentina while governor in 2009.

"Mark Sanford walked out on us. Violated our trust. Secretly used thousands of taxpayer dollars flying to Argentina and then lied about it," a male voice says in the ad while the picture shows a man walking along a trail. "Maybe Mark Sanford should just keep walking."

The reference to Sanford "walking" alludes to his telling aides that he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" when he was actually visiting his mistress.

The tough ad, paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, will begin airing in the Charleston and Savannah markets. It is already online.

Democrats are launching an air assault against Sanford in the final weeks of his race against Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch. House Majority PAC, a pro-Democratic outside group, released another ad Wednesday against Sanford that will run in the district for the next three weeks.

"Democrats don’t think that this race is a slam dunk like Republican do, so we’ve got to be aggressive," a Democratic official involved with the race said.

Sanford, however, doesn't have the same level of backing on his side. The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday announced it is no longer investing in Sanford's race, and neither are Republican-friendly outside groups.

In response to the new ad, Sanford released a statement accusing Democrats of trying to "buy" the House seat.

“I think this raises an incredibly interesting question, and that is, what are Nancy Pelosi and national Democrats expecting from Colbert Busch that they’re willing to spend a million dollars to get it?” Sanford said. “My opponent has gone through great lengths to distance herself from the liberal Beltway crowd, but it simply isn’t believable that those same folks would be trying to buy this race for someone who would truly be an independent voice in Washington."

The special election for the open seat will be held May 7.

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