"I am running because our country's future is at stake if we don't get our hands around runaway government spending in Washington," Sanford, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday. "And, given our nation's long-term financial problems, we need more who have shown themselves to be leaders in standing up to the big spenders, regardless of party."
Sanford's former wife, Jenny Sanford, announced Monday that she would not run for the House seat. Other declared or possible candidates include state Sen. Larry Grooms, state House Majority Whip Jimmy Merrill and state Rep. Peter McCoy, The Washington Post said.
Sanford, who also made headlines for refusing President Obama's stimulus money, said he was running for Congress because the U.S. economy has reached a "day of reckoning," National Review Online reported Tuesday.
"It seems that we're averting a new 'fiscal cliff' or crisis every few months these days, and what the numbers point to is that the trend is going to intensify," he said
He told National Review people shouldn't judge him by what happened before he left the governor's office.
"I think that the bigger issue is, don't judge any one person by their best day; don't judge them by their worst day," he said. "Look at the totality, the whole of their life, and make judgments accordingly."
In 2009 it was revealed that Sanford left the state to fly to Argentina for the liaison even though his office said he was elsewhere. A legislative committee voted to censure but not impeach him and he served out the remainder of his term.
The Republican primary was set for March 19 and a runoff, April 2 if necessary. The general election is May 7.