The Washington Times - May 8, 2013, 07:42AM

Fresh off his win in a special House election, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford pushed back against the notion that his high-profile extramarital affair in 2009 could become a drag on the Republican ability to woo women voters.

“I think its silly,” Mr. Sanford said on “CBS This Morning.” “I am a candidate and now congressman-elect who had a failing in 2009. I will go back to what our pastor said a while ago, which is do the events of your life refine or define your life.”

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Mr. Sanford said that he has learned from and been forgiven for the mistake, but that his political opponents will want to make the single event define his time in office and the entire GOP.

Mr. Sanford completed his political comeback Tuesday after easily defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, capturing 54 percent of the vote, compared with his rival’s 45 percent.

The South Carolina seat opened up after Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Rep. Tim Scott to the Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint, a Republican who left to join the conservative Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank.

“We have a tradition in the South, and South Carolina, of forgiveness,” Mr. Sanford said. “That whole notion of forgiving another person, and saying ‘OK, let’s begin this process of building and moving forward,’ I think is part and parcel to this larger notion of human grace, which I think is a reflection ultimately of God’s grace.”