Almost 20 people are vying for now Senator Tim Scott's former First Congressional District seat. The field is crowded and the candidates have invested lots of money to make their message stand out from the pack.
Most roadside campaign signs silently shout the names of their politician to passing drivers. But Mark Sanford's signs are different, even odd.
They are crudely fashioned from goods easily found in any hardware store. Four feet-by-four feet plywood boards zip-tied to metal stakes bear Sanford's spray-painted message "SANFORD SAVES TAX $."
Wayne Waters, a sign maker from Summerville isn't impressed with Sanford's "unique" strategy. One of Sanford's homemade signs sits less than a quarter mile from his front door.
"It looks cheap. It looks homemade. It looks like somebody made it out of their garage," critiqued Waters.
Sanford campaign spokesman Joel Sawyer says, that's the point, "Somebody came to Gov. Sanford with the idea of a plywood sign and you know how he is about saving money, he loved the idea."
Dr. Kendra Stewart, a political science professor at the College of Charleston, says the signs definitely underscore the persona that Sanford has crafted for himself over the years as a cheap politician. Sanford famously admitted to sleeping in his office years ago when he was in Congress, as a way to save money.
"The fact that these are homemade signs might help Sanford with the illusion of people believing that people are taking their time to put them out there," she continued "when really they're being created by the campaign."
Sawyer, admits that the campaign is responsible for some signs, but maintains it is a grassroots effort.
"We've had volunteers coming over to the headquarters spray painting their own signs, help put them out and we've had a few here and there that we don't know who put them out, but we thank them for it," Sawyer said.
Stewart says in the end, the signs probably won't be that much of a factor. She says campaign signs in general are only useful in boosting name recognition, and adds that Sanford doesn't have any problem with name recognition.
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