TODAY   |  February 19, 2013

Disgraced governor Mark Sanford planning comeback

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is trying to revive his political career with a republican primary run for the House seat he held until 2001. Four years ago, Sanford’s career derailed when he was discovered having an affair with a TV reporter from Argentina. TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

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>>> former south carolina governor mark sanford is hoping for a second chance in politics in the wake of a personal scandal that cost him his marriage. we'll talk to the governor exclusively in a moment. first, his story. in a new campaign ad , mark sanford takes on his biggest hurdle, past scandal.

>> i've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes, but in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, second chances and be the better for it.

>> four years ago, san tls ford was a rising republican star, governor of south carolina , with an attractive wife and family. but that promising political career was derailed by an affair with a television reporter in argentina .

>> i've let down a lot of people.

>> sanford's staff said he was hiking the appalachian trail but he had lied to his staff and was actually visiting his mistress in argentina .

>> i've been unfaithful to my wife. i've developed a relationship with a -- started out as a dear, dear friend from argentina .

>> that admission led to his censure, resignation as head of republicans governor association.

>> my important job right now is our children, his career is the least of my concern.

>> campaigning on his fiscally conservative record.

>> i've cut spending, reduced debt and made government more accountable.

>> now the front-runner in a 16-person republican field for the march 19th primary. he recently became engaged to his former mistress, whom he has called