Thou Shalt Trespass, I Guess. We Don’t Mind.

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C.—Drive east out of Charleston, drive past the Republican suburbs of Mt. Pleasant, and you can take a bridge this older, tonier, charming town. Two hundred years ago it was a major point of entry for slave ships. Today, some of the slaves are commemorated with a grave on the edge of town, while the rest of this town has been turned into an idyll of pleasant restaurants and homes. One of those homes belongs to Jenny Sanford, and on the night of the Super Bowl, Mark Sanford visited it. If the former governor loses this election, Jenny’s unsealed legal complaint against her husband for “trespassing” will be tipped as the reason why.
photo (35) On the advice of WaPo’s Karen Tumulty, I hung out for a little while in the town and found its precinct. The mayoral and city council elections were happening concurrently—most of the signs in town were cutesy ads for the incumbent mayor/write-in candidate, such as a see-through sign that promised “transparency”—but voters were turning out for the congressional race. The voters I talked to were mostly pro-Sanford. “His personal life is just that, his personal life,” said Gloria Howard, a retiree who paused after talking to friends to explain why they stayed Republican. “He knows what he wants to do when he gets there, and we need that experience.” Susan Middaugh, an “aspiring Democrat” running for city council, said it was rare that the party put up any competitive candidates in the district. “We see Jenny around town,” she said. “She’s the brains behind Sanford. I’m actually surprised he can run a campaign without her.” She explained why Colbert Busch was qualified to serve, as Middaugh’s city council rivals (three men, if that matters) politely declined to discuss their votes. “It’s a secret ballot,” smiled one of them. “Sanford’s decisions—they haven’t helped, certainly,” said another.