SUMMERVILLE, S.C. – With three days to go to election day, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford picked up the support of the Tea Party Express and local Tea Party leaders.
"I'm here because this is the beginning of the 2014 election cycle. This race is extremely important and it's going to have consequences all across this country," said Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express. "South Carolina is a conservative state and the people want a conservative representative."
Though they were not able to run ads at this late in the game, Kremer said she and her group made the decision to come up in the final stretch of the campaign to try and mobilize voters and convince skeptical Republicans Sanford was needed in Congress.
"Look it doesn't matter how much money has been poured into this race on the other side, it's all about the energy and momentum of the grassroots. We've done it before, we can do it again," she said. "We're suffocating with all this debt, people are hurting and that's what's going to push them out to vote for Gov. Sanford on Tuesday."
Sanford's race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for South Carolina's first congressional district House seat is close: There's a big conservative bent in the district, but Colbert Busch has run a tough campaign, positioning herself as a moderate Democrat. Because of Sanford's personal baggage (as Governor, he disappeared for six days and later admitted he had been in Argentina having an affair), national Democrats saw the seat as a potential pick up.
But Sanford has worked to nationalize the race, and capitalize on the fact that Colbert Busch has received financial support from congressional Democrats, and repeatedly linked her to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"This really sets the stage for what happens in 2014, and the composition of the United States Congress," he said.
Anne Ubelis, a member of the Beauford Tea Party, said Republicans who don't vote in the election were doing so at their own peril.
"As Dante said, the hottest places in hell are reserved for folks who in times of great crisis, did nothing. I say ask yourself, if you do not vote for Mark Sanford, will you be happy when Pelosi's policies are put in place, Obamacare is not repealed, gun control is enforced and drones fly over your house?" she asked. "Who will you blame? Those of us who got off the couch and voted or those who stayed home?"