Bostic, Sanford meet in 1st District debate - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Bostic, Sanford meet in 1st District debate

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By Nikki Gaskins
ngaskins@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — It was a heated debate at times, mixed with a little humor between an ex-governor and former U.S. Marine.

Mark Sanford and Curtis Bostic are hoping to fill the 1st Congressional District seat left vacant by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott. Both men faced off Thursday evening against one another at Porter-Gaud School.

During the recent primary, Sanford received the most votes among Republicans; however, not enough to outright win the nomination. He heads into a runoff with Bostic on April 2.

With SiriusXM radio show host David Webb serving as moderator, the two men quickly got down to the issues as a crowd eagerly listened.

"I have always been willing to fight for the taxpayer," said Sanford.

During the debate, both men showed sympathy and understanding for the working class.

"We need people to understand we're fighting against debt, and the war against jobs going to other places," said Bostic.

There was also a little mud slinging from both sides; Bostic attacked Sanford's record as a former congressman.

"Zero bills in six years were co-sponsored, were approved were carried through by the governor during his time in office. Tim Scott in two years had 13," said Bostic.

Sanford accused Bostic of raising taxes while on county council.

"You voted for every one of those budgets coming out of Charleston County and you saw a thirty percent cumulative increase in Charleston County budgets over that time period," said Sanford.

Bostic was quick to respond.

"The whole story is that the people voted that tax increase. That wasn't my vote," said Bostic.

When it came down to talking jobs and building the economy, both men offered different solutions.

"If you want to talk term sustainable jobs, first off, I'd say you've got to get spending under control," said Sanford.

"If we're going to grow this economy in the Lowcountry and in our nation, then we work together as a team, and I believe that demonstration of Boeing was exactly that," said Bostic.

Building trust was another big topic with the moderator addressing the elephant in the room, Sanford's extramarital affair while governor.

"The events of 2009 absolutely reflect a failure on my part for which there were and at some level will always be consequences but that doesn't mean because you had a failure in your personal life that you can not step into life again," said Sanford.

For Bostic, while a newcomer who lacks Sanford's name recognition, he says choosing the ex-governor as the nominee for the Republican Party would be risky.

"The polls show that should the governor be the candidate facing the Democrats, we will lose this seat and lose it needlessly because of this issue of trust," said Bostic.

The runoff between Bostic and Sanford will take place in less than a week.  Whoever wins that will then faceoff against Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch on May 7.

The state Democratic Party responded to the debate, saying the two candidates offer South Carolinians nothing new.

"The debate will be interesting to watch tonight, we have Curtis Bostic who thinks he will be channeling God and Mark Sanford who will be speaking for … the other side. One thing is certain, there's not much of a choice for the voters in the GOP runoff -- just more of the same ideas that have stalled economic growth and hurt the people of South Carolina's first district," said party chair Dick Harpootlian.

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