Former Gov. Mark Sanford’s bid at a political comeback took another step forward and got a little validation on Tuesday after preliminary results reported by the S.C. Election Commission showed the luv-guv comfortably earning a trip to the party’s April 2 runoff election.

Early numbers put Charleston trial lawyer and former County Council member Curtis Bostic in second place, making him Sanford’s likely opponent. An automatic recount will take place if the margin between the second and third-place vote-getters is less than 1%. However, even after a recount, totals rarely shift by more than a handful of votes. As of the time of this post, Bostic led his nearest opponents by more than the 1% needed to advance.

As expected, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch defeated her only opponent, perennial candidate Ben Frasier, earning nearly 97% of the votes cast. Colbert Busch will face the runoff winner in the May 7 special election.

Here’s a breakdown of the votes as reported by the state Election Commission at the time of this post. (NOTE: The numbers have been updated to reflect the most recent numbers available on Wednesday morning.)

Candidate # %
Mark Sanford 19812 36.92
Curtis Bostic 7149 13.32
Larry Grooms 6656 12.4
Teddy Turner 4235 7.89
Andy Patrick 3776 7.04
John Kuhn 3471 6.47
Chip Limehouse 3269 6.09
Ray Nash 2504 4.67
Peter McCoy 865 1.61
Elizabeth Moffly 529 0.99
Tim Larkin 390 0.73
Jonathan Hoffman 358 0.67
Jeff King 211 0.39
Keith Blandford 192 0.36
Shawn Pinkston 154 0.29
Ric Bryant 86 0.16
     
Elizabeth Colbert Busch 15776 95.87
Ben Frasier 679 4.13