The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Wednesday that it was no longer financially backing former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) as he runs for Congress in a special election.
"Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election," spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told Politico.
Just 15 days ago, the NRCC had sounded enthusiastic about Sanford. "Voters in South Carolina have spoken and congratulations are in order for Mark Sanford as the victor in South Carolina's Republican runoff election," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the NRCC. "Without a doubt, Mark Sanford will campaign tirelessly to grow South Carolina jobs and work to get our nation's massive spending problem under control."
The NRCC's switch is a blow to the former governor's comeback attempt following the shocking 2009 revelation of his extramarital affair, which upended his political career and led to his divorce from wife Jenny Sanford.
The news came the day after the Associated Press reported that Sanford must appear in court to answer a complaint about trespassing at his former wife's house. According to their 2010 divorce agreement, neither party may visit the other's home without permission.
Sanford has said that he was just trying to watch the Super Bowl with his son. "I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone," Sanford said in a statement. "Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened."
Sanford faces Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, in the May 7 special election. Also on Wednesday, the House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, announced a three-week, six-figure ad buy attacking Sanford for extravagant state travel while governor, including to visit the woman who is now his fiancee.
A Colbert Busch spokesman declined to comment, and Sanford's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.