Congratulations to Mark Sanford
June 26, 2002
With his speech Tuesday evening, Bob Peeler returned to the man that first attracted so many people in South Carolina. He was gracious and called for the reuniting of the party. It was a change from the last month of the race.
Pundits will now analyze those last moments of the campaign and seek to judge its impact on the health of the Republican Party. Yet the fracture existed well before the Peeler campaign set their course of action.
A hard fought battle is over. The candidate who many had given only an outside chance to win the nomination for Republican Party won convincingly. He now carries the burdens of a November election and a role in leading a wounded party to forward.
Unfortunately, politics is often a world of grudges. Everyone is all smiles and patting each other on the back—though they are affixing “kick me” signs with each embrace. Here is an opportunity for two men to show it can be done another way.
Much of the burden will lie with Sanford. He is the victor and to the victor goes the spoils. He is in the best position for “payback.” How he responds (not publicly, but behind the scenes) will set the foundation for the future of the party.
His acceptance speech was equally gracious and made a point to call the party to unity. If Sanford is all he says he is, then we may look for a new day in the Republican Party. He will do his part. In conversations with his staff before they election, I was assured that there would be every effort to put the past behind the party and push forward.
The olive branch is extended. Will it be accepted?
Thank you, Mark Sanford for a well fought race and a gracious victory. We Republicans look forward to supporting you now and in November.