By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Candidates and third party groups spent about $7.3 million in the race for South Carolina's 1st District congressional seat earlier this year.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch last month to win his old congressional seat on the state's south coast.
Federal Election Commission reports show the candidates spent just under $6 million with another $1.3 million poured in by outside groups.
The total is just shy of the nearly $7.5 million spent in South Carolina's 5th District three years ago. In that contest, Republican Mick Mulvaney unseated 14-term Democratic U.S. Rep. John Spratt.
The 1st District seat became vacant last year when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Congressman Tim Scott to fill the Senate seat left empty by the resignation of Jim DeMint.