In the Republican primary for the 1st Congressional District seat previously held by Tim Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate after Jim DeMint resigned, Sanford had 36.9 percent to 13.2 percent for Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic and 12.4 percent for state Sen. Larry Grooms in a 15-candidate field, results posted by the State Election Commission showed.
Since Sanford was not expected to get a majority, there will be a runoff April 2 against whichever candidate finishes second to determine who will face Democratic primary winner Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a business development head at Clemson University who is the sister of TV political satirist Stephen Colbert, Politico reported.
With 99.1 percent of the district's precincts reporting, Colbert Busch had 95.9 percent of the Democratic votes to 4.1 percent for Ben Frasier.
Sanford, 52, was a two-term governor when in June 2009, after saying he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail, publicly revealed he had engaged in an affair with Maria Belen Chapur, an Argentine woman. He was censured by the state General Assembly following an ethics investigation into allegations he misused state travel funds to conduct his affair but avoided impeachment.