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(USA TODAY by Catalina Camia) Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford reportedly asked his ex-wife to manage his campaign for Congress, just as she had when he first ran for the U.S. House in 1994 during happier times.

In a New York magazine story, the disgraced Republican who tearfully admitted on national TV that he had an extramarital affair not only went to Jenny Sanford asking for her blessing to re-enter politics, he also had a proposal to join forces again.

"Since you're not running, I want to know if you'll run my campaign," Sanford is quoted as saying. "We could put the team back together."

Jenny Sanford said no, the story says. Sanford then came back with this sweetener: "I could pay you this time," he is quoted as saying.

Sanford is running for his former House seat, which is vacant because Tim Scott is now in the Senate. He has talked for weeks about his "mistakes" and how people should forgive and focus on his plans to reduce the nation's debt. At least one of Sanford's GOP primary opponents, state Rep. Andy Patrick, has said that the campaign should not become Sanford's "personal redemption tour."

Jenny Sanford's political stock rose in 2009 when Sanford admitted to the affair, and she was considered by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley earlier this year as a possible appointee to the Senate. She opted against running for the open 1st District seat because she still has a teen-aged son at home.

Given Mark Sanford's name recognition, he is considered the front-runner among 16 GOP candidates in the March 19 primary. Elizabeth Colbert Busch is the leading Democratic candidate.