Sanford wins 1st District race, beating Colbert Busch - FOX Carolina 21

Sanford wins 1st District race, beating Colbert Busch

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Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford speaks to a crowd of supporters after winning his former Congressional seat. (May 7, 2013/Source: CNN) Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford speaks to a crowd of supporters after winning his former Congressional seat. (May 7, 2013/Source: CNN)
Elizabeth Colbert Busch speaks to a crowd of supporters following her loss to Mark Sanford. (May 7, 2013/Source: CNN) Elizabeth Colbert Busch speaks to a crowd of supporters following her loss to Mark Sanford. (May 7, 2013/Source: CNN)
CHARLESTON, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

Less than two hours after the polls closed, the votes showed Former Gov. Mark Sanford won the 1st District Congressional seat, beating out Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

The Associated Press called the race just before 8:30 p.m. and later reported with all 317 precincts reporting, that Sanford earned 54 percent of the vote, while Colbert Busch won 45 percent.

Sanford addressed a crowd at Liberty Taproom in Mount Pleasant thanking his supporters.

"I am one imperfect man saved by God's grace but one who has a conviction on the importance of doing something about spending in Washington DC ," Sanford said. "And it's my pledge to everyone of you here from this day going forward that I am going to try to be the best congressman that I could have ever been and working towards y'alls end."

A little before 9 p.m., Colbert Busch gave her concession speech acknowledging that she had an uphill battle but respected the voters' decision.

"The people have spoken and I respect their decision, this is the beauty of our country," Colbert Busch said. "I respect their decision. I assure you I will continue to fight for the state of South Carolina."

Sanford earned the GOP nomination after winning a run-off election April 2, beating Curtis Bostic, a former Charleston County Council member. Sanford held the same seat before becoming governor.

Sanford battled the Democratic nominee Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who earned the nod during the March 19 primary.

The two nominees squared off last week in a debate and have spent the past few weeks campaigning across the district.

On Tuesday, Sanford cast his vote in the special election and spoke with local and national media outlets. He spoke with a CNN reporter on the issue of forgiveness, acknowledging some voters may not forgive him regarding his 2009 disappearance and affair.

"Forgiveness is at an individual level, and some people forgive me the next day. Some people will probably never forgive me, and the continuum is where folks fall out," Sanford said. Click here to watch the entire clip.

Sanford was also quoted Tuesday saying if he loses the election, he will not run for office again.

Sanford's trying to rebuild his political career after disappearing four years ago only to return to confess he was having an extramarital affair with a woman to whom he is now engaged. Sanford openly admitted his mistake in his first campaign ad while running for the GOP nomination. Watch the ad here.

Green Party nominee Eugene Platt also ran for the seat, earning 690 votes.

The congressional seat became vacant when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to fill the state's U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Jim DeMint resigned.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Results are not official until certified by the election commission.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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