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Spending restraint and trust in leadership are the hallmarks of Curtis Bostic’s campaign to defeat former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford and win a seat in the House of Representatives.

Sanford is the former two-term governor of South Carolina, whose bright political career seemingly derailed when he vanished from the state for several days and then returned and admitted to being in Argentina with his mistress.

However, Sanford re-entered the political fray after a chain reaction of political events.

Sen. Jim DeMint resigned his U.S. Senate seat at the start of 2013 and Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Rep. Tim Scott to fill the remainder of DeMint’s term. That leaves a vacancy in South Carolina’s first congressional district. A 16-candidate Republican field was whittled down to Sanford and Bostic. Sanford easily won the most votes but failed to win a majority, so he and Bostic face a run-off April 2.

Santorum endorses Sanford’s opponent in South Carolina

Bostic served eight years on the Charleston City Council and considers himself the grassroots candidate in this race against a man he considers to be a career politician. He says getting the nation’s fiscal house back in order would be his No. 1 priority in Washington.

“We do not believe it to be a revenue problem,” Bostic told WND. “We think it’s a spending problem and conservative, common sense Americans have got to take again the reins of this great nation of ours and stop this flood of cash that is coming out of Washington.”

A retired U.S. Marine, Bostic has started small businesses and charities, including orphanages in Burma. He says that real world experience separates him from Sanford, who is also running a campaign vowing fiscal responsibility.

“I’m the grassroots guy. I’m the guy that you run into at Costco, the guy that stands and pumps my gas next to you here in the First District. That gives us a different vantage on spending, I believe, than someone who is a career politician,” said Bostic.

As for how he would approach current fiscal debates in Washington, Bostic says he has mixed feelings about the House Republican budget blueprint that was approved last week.

“Frankly, I probably like the Rand [Paul] plan a little bit better and that has now failed in the Senate. Good elements in it reduced the deficit much sooner. I candidly favored it, but if the Ryan plan were the best we could get, I would applaud it and stand with it,” said Bostic, who says Ryan’s approach to Medicare reform is especially appealing to him.

Several news reports and some blogs sympathetic to Bostic refer to him as the tea-party candidate in the race. He doesn’t personally describe himself that way, but is happy to have support from those activists.

“I think that there are those in the Tea Party that like elements of our campaign. I think there are those in lots of conservative groups that would buy into portions of our candidacy. I welcome Americans of all stripes who share the idea that we need to return to conservative government,” said Bostic.

As for the impact of the Sanford scandal on the race, Bostic doesn’t mention it much, but his advertising does prominently feature his wife of 25 years, Jenny, and their five children. Bostic says that story matters more to some voters than others but he’s focused on fiscal issues because people already know what they think of Sanford’s behavior.

“I don’t know that for me personally, at this juncture, that it’s a critical issue. I have my own personal ideas as to what I want to expect from leaders, but what I think we are united around is the idea that we’ve got to send someone who is fiscally responsible and who we can trust to Washington,” said Bostic.

Bostic says he is also a strong supporter of our military and a strong national security policy. He also describes himself as “staunchly” conservative on social issues. He believes some in the GOP are making a big mistake by marginalizing social conservatives.

“What I don’t want to see us do as a party is abandon some of the social conservatives that have helped unite this party. We need to be a party of inclusion,” he said.

Sanford piled up 37 percent of the vote in the 16-candidate primary, compared to 13 percent for Bostic. A new PPP poll shows Sanford ahead in the runoff 53-40 percent.

The same PPP poll shows Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch leading Sanford 47-45 percent. Bostic and Busch are tied 43-43.

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