Locals have mixed reactions to Sanford's primary win

Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford

News 12 at 6 o’clock / Wednesday, April 3, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- If you walk through downtown Aiken, you'll find a mixed reaction to the news sweeping South Carolina and the nation.

"People make mistakes,” says Det Haislip, owner of True Value. “Legislatively, I don't know that the man's ever made a blunder."

"I think we could have looked a little more, you know,” said Harriet Cullinan of Lexington.

Of course, they’re both reacting to the resurgence of Former Gov. Mark Sanford. On Tuesday night, Sanford defeated a former county council member to win the GOP nomination for a vacant U.S. House seat.

Sanford’s political career was derailed four years ago by his admission of an extramarital affair with an Argentinean woman.

"Oh my Lord, South Carolina's got a history of scoundrels, you know! I was surprised,” Cullinan said. “I was surprised and very disappointed."

However, across the street at True Value, Haislip sees things differently.

"I was very happy to see the man prevail,” he said.

Sanford visited his store numerous times as governor and even got a little encouragement from Haislip.

"I recommended that he do it several years ago, and he said in due time, maybe, and here he is,” he said.

But first, Sanford will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert. But will Sanford's past haunt him?

"When you're looking at what he did, you're talking about cheating on your wife -- your family, basically -- and then lying to the state as to where he was,” said Tony Coffaro, vice president of the Aiken Republican Club.

Coffaro says despite Sanford's successful political record, the woman vote could cause problems.

"This is a resurgence that'll be interesting to watch,” he said.

As for Cullinan, she’ll be watching.

"I think that Jack Bass put it right,” she said. “He said that South Carolina is too big to be a republic but too small to be an asylum."

The general election for the congressional seat will be held on May 7. District 1 includes the coastal region from Hilton Head Island up to Charleston.

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