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How does a campaign that’s been marked by a trespassing charge and a debate with a cardboard standee sink any lower?

Former South Carolina governor and current GOP nominee for the state’s 1st congressional district, Mark Sanford, has found a way.

The ex-governor — who famously claimed to be walking the Appalachian Trail while actually cheating on his wife in Argentina — volunteered to explain his trespassing charge to anyone who asked, in a full-page newspaper ad last weekend that included his phone number. When a Democratic PAC shared his number with their mailing list, the calls began raining in.

Instead of recognizing that another of his schemes had backfired, Sanford decided to publish the numbers of everyone who had taken him up on his offer and called him.

redacted-Sanford-number-1024x577

What happened next?

ThinkProgress spoke with three of the people whose numbers appeared on the list – all were surprised and upset to learn their private phone numbers had been published. Darla, who shares a home phone with her 80-year-old mother and 91-year-old father, expressed concern that they might receive harassing phone calls. “It opens us up for all kinds of issues,” she noted, adding that Sanford “didn’t even have the courtesy of calling me back to answer my questions.” That Sanford instead decided to make their home phone number public “speaks to the kind of person he is,” she said.

Sanford’s opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch has opened up big leads on the ex-governor in the polls and in fundraising.

No matter how much Sanford would like to be running against a cardboard version of a woman who can’t talk back, he’s stuck with a real opponent — who’s a real contender.

AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File

 

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