TODAY   |  March 19, 2013

Mark Sanford aims for comeback in S.C. primary

The former South Carolina governor, who experienced a fall from grace in 2009 after admitting to an extramarital affair, is hoping for a return to politics, running against 15 fellow Republicans for a Congressional seat. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a special election for south carolina 's first open congressional district seat. former governor mark sanford one of the names on the ballot after he looks for a comeback. kelly o'donnell is in charleston for us, kelly , good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. people here say they've been overwhelmed by the number of candidates, many swamping the local tv stations with campaign ads . much of the attention has been on governor sanford, who did leave office amid a personal affair and is now looking for political redemption. chance for an unlikely comeback.

>> how are you, mark sanford , good to see you.

>> reporter: former south carolina governor mark sanford is up against 15 fellow republicans, running for congress.

>> i feel like i'm supposed to be crawling back on to this larger playing field that i had stepped away from for a couple years and i've been blown away by the warmth and graciousness of the reception.

>> reporter: that despite his spectacular fall from grace in 2009 . he had an affair in argentina. now engaged his fiance tries to stay far from the spotlight.

>> you couldn't help but be a private person and to have been able to avoid your television cameras and many others over the last four years.

>> reporter: his ex-wife, jenny, turned down his request to help on this campaign.

>> i said well still love to have you involved any way that you'd like, because you know, she is an incredibly intelligent woman and knows campaigns and knows elections very, very well.

>> reporter: among several local officials running is larry gruenz.

>> i'm someone to be trusted to get the job down.

>> reporter: billionaire ted williams ' son teddy is a candidate and the sister of stephen kohl bert, businesswoman elisabeth kohl bert busch.

>> i will talk to each other and listen.

>> reporter: the runoff of the top two republican getters is expected and many say while south carolinians are forgiving of sanford's past the question is will they vote for him again.

>> we'll know by the end of today. kelly o'donnell in charleston thank you.