[image-1]Almost two weeks away from the first day of filing for the 1st Congressional District special election in March, we’re beginning to hear whispers from all directions about the half-dozen prospective GOP candidates expected to jump into the fray to succeed Tim Scott, capped off this week by rumblings from the Sanford and Thomas Ravenel camps. (Yep, T-Rav.) Whether the GOP primary ends up with dozen candidates or a piddling five or six, it’s time to start preparing for a campaign media blitz the likes of which we haven’t seen around here for some time.

The Post and Courier tracked down former governor Mark Sanford scouting out potential campaign office space on Thursday in the Tellis Pharmacy building on lower King St. Telling P&C reporter Schuyler Kropf that he’s gotten positive feedback from his four sons as well as now-fiancée Maria Belen Chapur in support of an attempt at a political revival, it appears Sanford is moving closer to making a bid to retake his former seat in Congress, which he held from 1995-2001 and built a reputation as a fiscal conservative that would eventually catapult him into the governor’s mansion.

Sanford isn’t the only embattled former lawmaker seeking a remedy to a cloudy political past. Former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel confirmed a Fits News story posted Friday that floated the idea that T-Rav may be considering run for the post. Ravenel resigned in 2007 after being indicted on cocaine charges that later landed him a ten-month stint in the federal pen.

Charleston-area Rep. Chip Limehouse (R – Charleston) and Sen. Larry Grooms (R – Berkeley) as well as Beaufort Rep. Andy Patrick (R) also announced their intentions this week to enter the race once the filing period opens on January 18.

The crowded field will face off in a primary on March 19, with a runoff between the top-two vote getters likely two weeks later (the nominee must receive 50% of votes), followed by the general election on May 9.

Democratic Sen. Wendell Gilliard and former SC-1 Democratic candidate Robert Burton are said to be considering entering the Democratic race.

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