On the eve of Tuesday’s special election in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch offered up an intense recounting of her 1988 divorce in order to cut off a whisper campaign from supporters of her opponent, Republican Mark Sanford.A few local news outlets and blogs have recounted the story of Colbert Busch’s first marriage in recent days, which at one point resulted in both she and her then-husband being held in jail for 24 hours on contempt charges. Republican fundraiser Foster Friess brought the incident up in an e-mail supporting Sanford this week and Think Progress has reported a fake “push poll” that included the question “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?” A picture of her mugshot has also been making the rounds online.
In an interview with WCBD-TV that aired Monday night, Colbert Busch said she had no regrets about the incident, which she said stemmed from her protesting an attempt by her spouse to convince a judge she was keeping their children from him.
“Twenty-seven years ago, I left an abusive marriage,” she said. “I left because I had to protect myself and my children. I went to court to try and get help, and during that time, the judge became very frustrated with the situation, and that’s how I wound up where I was. As a mother, would I do it again? You bet I would. I am a mother first, and I will protect my children, today, yesterday, and tomorrow. I would do it over and over and over again.”
She called the recent airing of the incident on the campaign trail “a pathetic, desperate, display of behavior.”