House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is endorsing former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) in his bid for Congress, The Hill reported Tuesday.
"This election offers the voters of South Carolina's First Congressional District a clear choice between a Republican who will work to reduce spending, balance the budget and grow the economy, and a Democrat who will stand with President Obama's policies that are making it harder for people to find work," reads a statement from Boehner's office. "The Speaker supports our Republican nominee and knows that, if elected, Mr. Sanford will work tirelessly to help expand opportunities for all Americans."
Boehner's announcement marks one of the first major Republican endorsements for Sanford, who defeated former Charleston County council member Curtis Bostic in a GOP primary runoff last week. The House Speaker and other GOP leaders largely stayed out of the race during the primary.
Sanford will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt in a May 7 special election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Tim Scott, who was appointed to serve the remainder of Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) term after DeMint announced his resignation in December. Sanford previously held the congressional seat for three terms before he was elected governor in 2002.
A poll conducted for the Colbert Busch campaign earlier this month found Sanford and Colbert Busch locked in a tight race, with the Democrat holding a three-point lead over the former governor in the Republican-leaning district.
On Tuesday, Colbert Busch's campaign released her first television ad for the general election, pledging to remain independent of special interests if elected.
"I won't take any special interest pledges or follow any party line," Colbert Busch said in the ad. "I approve this message because my only pledge is to do what's right for you."