First the father, now the son.
GOP congressional candidate Mark Sanford was formally endorsed Tuesday by Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite whose support could help in the final days of the special election for South Carolina's 1st District seat. The senator's father, former Texas congressman Ron Paul, threw his support behind Sanford last week.
"More than anything, Washington needs strong and consistent voices for fiscal responsibility and liberty," the younger Paul said in a statement. "Mark has proven during his time in office that watching out for taxpayers and holding the line on spending are his top priorities."
Sanford, a former South Carolina governor, faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a May 7 election for his old House seat. Once the favorite in the race, Sanford has had to deal with renewed attention on his 2009 extramarital affair and the loss of support from the House GOP campaign committee.
The small-government, anti-tax Tea Party movement might be waning in some areas, but South Carolina has been one of its strongholds. It's also the site of the important "first in the South" presidential primary, and Paul has been trying to make inroads in some of these early states as he considers a 2016 White House bid.
USA TODAY's Martha T. Moore was at the one and only debate between Sanford and Colbert Busch, a businesswoman in her first political race, on Monday night in Charleston. Colbert Busch kept the focus on Sanford, who held the House seat from 1995 to 2001. The winner will succeed Republican Tim Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate.