The Washington Times - May 7, 2013, 08:07AM

Republican Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he should not be defined by the high-profile extramarital affair with his Argentinian mistress that saw him disappear from his job as governor in 2009 for six days.

The affair has dogged Mr. Sanford’s attempt at a political comeback in South Carolina, where voters will decide in a special election Tuesday whether he or Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch wins the state’s 1st Congressional District.

SEE RELATED: Sanford’s late surge in South Carolina gives GOP hope

Asked whether voters should trust him after the incident, Mr. Sanford tried to turn the tables on Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I guarantee you have made some mistakes in your life,” Mr. Sanford said. “I could turn around to anybody on the set and say, ‘One event does not define your life.’ “

Mr. Sanford has since divorced his wife and is engaged to María Belén Chapur, his mistress. The National Republican Congressional Committee pulled out of the race earlier this year after a trespassing complaint was filed against Mr. Sanford by his former wife.

Polls show the race in South Carolina is a dead heat. The polls close at 7 p.m.

Mr. Sanford also said during his appearance on “Morning Joe” that he would have voted against the bipartisan push from Sens. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, to expand background cheeks for gun purchasers.

He also said he would vote against the comprehensive immigration bill writhed by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” — a group that includes South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican.

The South Carolina seat opened up after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Rep. Tim Scott to the seat that former Sen. Jim DeMint gave up to join the conservative Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank.