CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The art of the comeback. It happens in sports, on the stage and in politics. In South Carolina, a comeback is in progress by Mark Sanford who is on a quest to return to Congress and get back in good graces in a state he once governed.
In a cozy office on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston, Shauna Mackenzie helps people with their appearance, behavior and communication. She's a image consultant and in she's in the business of making people look good and helping them back on their feet if they've fallen.
"This is not an overnight thing," says Mackenzie on trying to put the pieces back together again.
The consultant isn't working with the former governor but says for Mark Sanford to climb back to the top he's going to have to earn it.
"People are not going to believe in the message if they don't believe in the messenger," says Mackenzie. "He needs to march back to power and regain that credibility which will be enduring. That's just the way it is when you make a comeback."
If Sanford was working with her, Mackenzie says she would have the governor out and about, connecting with voters on their turf.
"I heavily want him out there on the street shaking hands, building relationships and spending a lot of one-on-one time with voters," she says.
A humble, hands on approach is a good start. She says if his affair or ethics scandal rears it head in conversation or debate, she wants Sanford to take it head on.
"He needs to give a solid very transparent, humble, genuine answer," says Mackenzie. "Then he needs to turn the focus to the issues that matter now."
The consultant says his biggest threat comes for the game plans of his opponents, but there are other variables.
"There's also a lot of outside factors that come into play," she says. "There's Jenny Sanford's position, if she makes any remarks about it that are going to fall in line with his image positively or negatively."
But Mackenzie says no matter the baggage, people can make comebacks on any stage and at every level. Sanford won't have much time to make his before a special election for Congress weeks away, but he will take his best shot.
Filing to officially become a contender for Congress starts Friday at noon. Live 5 News has unofficially counted 13 people vying for the first Congressional district seat as of Thursday afternoon.