MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. —
Sanford, the former three-term congressman and two-term governor, said earlier Tuesday that the runoff would give a good indication whether voters have moved past his personal indiscretions.
"I'm both humbled and grateful for the response of the voters here tonight," he said later.
Sanford was a rising Republican political star before he vanished from South Carolina for five days in 2009. Reporters were told he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he later tearfully acknowledged he was visiting Maria Belen Chapur, which he told everyone at a news conference announcing his affair. He later called her his soul mate and the two were engaged earlier this year.
After the revelation of the affair, Sanford's wife Jenny divorced him and wrote a book. Before leaving office as governor, Mark Sanford avoided impeachment but was censured by the Legislature.
The opening for Sanford came after U.S. Rep. Tim Scott was appointed to fill the remaining two years of U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint's seat. DeMint resigned to head a conservative think tank.
Mark Sanford knows the 1st District well. Elected to the seat in 1994 — Jenny Sanford managed his first campaign and was a close adviser for most of his career — he served three terms before voters elected him governor in 2002.
Jenny Sanford considered a race of her own in the Republican-leaning congressional district along the state's southern coast, but ultimately took a pass.
In last month's GOP primary, Bostic collected only about 13 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating state Sen. Larry Grooms for second place. But he had less than two weeks to overcome Sanford's high name recognition.
During a televised debate, he took a jab at Sanford, saying "a compromised candidate is not what we need" in the race against Colbert Busch.