Today's New York Times carries an article titled, “Mark Sanford’s path of Most Renaissance” followed by the lead-copy on its home page:
“The South Carolina governor went from potential presidential contender to late-night punch line. Now he’s a junior congressman trying to find his way in a divided G.O.P.”
Apparently, a strident conservative David Brat Sanford emerged from “the place where nobody wanted to even acknowledge your name,” as he told in a press interview to the position to influence on G.D.P’s destiny and its policy.
None of CED, OED, and Merriam-Webster carries this word, nor can I find it on Google NViewer.
I think this requires some knowledge about the situation of U.S. politics and the background of U.S. politicians. But what does the word, "Presidential contender to late-night-punch line”? Does it mean that he came up from the unknown to the well-known, then up to the popular object of late night show topics and quips?