John McCain Hasn't Given Up on Mark Sanford

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 22 2013 10:49 AM

John McCain Hasn't Given Up on Mark Sanford Yet

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Sen. John McCain listen to questions from members of the media during a Capitol Hill news conference on immigration reform on April 18, 2013

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Things in South Carolina's 1st congressional district may have finally become too weird for the Republican Party, but not for John McCain. Roll Call:

The Sanford for Congress committee reported [Saturday] afternoon it received $2,500 on 4/18 from Sen. John McCain’s leadership PAC, Country First PAC. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) is running against Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D-S.C.) in the SC-01 May 7 Special General Election to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who was appointed a U.S. Senator.
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The date of that check, April 18, is noteworthy becomes it's one day after the the National Republican Congressional Committee confirmed that it was financially abandoning Sanford after news broke that his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, had accused him of trespassing on her property earlier this year. (For his part, the former governor says he had gone to the house to watch the Super Bowl with his 14-year-old son because "as a father I didn’t think he should watch it alone.") Here's how Slate's John Dickerson explained the GOP establishment's decision to cut their losses:

Staffers at the National Republican Congressional Committee received word of the news 20 minutes before the Associated Press story hit. Campaign operatives and GOP congressional leaders had a fast powwow, and the way forward was clear. Sanford was a liability. Whatever deep currents propel Sanford’s comings and goings, the NRCC no longer wanted to be tied to them like a tin can to a comet. "We thought we were dealing with the devil we knew," says one operative. "But we weren’t. Do we want to waste precious resources defending a seat that we can’t win right now because of these circumstances?”

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.