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“He’s finally learned how to do it. Mark now understands the necessity of and art of compromise. It’s not my way or the highway,” said Mr. Rainey, who was chairman of the Board of Economic Advisors during Mr. Sanford’s tenure.

Mr. Sanford‘s engagement to Ms. Chapur may improve his standing with voters.

“Think of all that’s happened since 2009. That’s old news,” said Mr. Rainey, rattling off a list of political scandals. “Especially in the South, we’re about redemption. I don’t think he’s got a problem.”