Sanford, a onetime Republican rising star who made headlines in 2009 after lying to his staff about visiting his girlfriend in Argentina, is running for the seat vacated by Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District - a seat Sanford held from 1995-2001. Scott was tapped to replace Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who recently left the Senate to join a conservative think tank.
In the ad, called "Change Washington," Sanford acknowledges some "recent mistakes."
"I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes," he said. "But in their wake we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it."
The 30-second spot hit the South Carolina airwaves today and will run on cable in his district, according to Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for his campaign. Sawyer said the campaign has reserved at least $160,000 worth of paid advertising in the lead-up to the March 19 primary.
Despite the damage done to his reputation as a result of the 2009 scandal, for which he was censured by the South Carolina legislature, Sanford says in the ad he is "humbly" stepping forward to ask for voters' help "in changing Washington."
Among the Democratic contenders with whom he will be competing for the seat is Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a sister of the comedian Stephen Colbert.