Former South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford (R) said this week that he is thinking of launching a primary bid against President Donald Trump.
What are the details?
In an exclusive interview with The Post and Courier on Tuesday, Sanford said he had been mulling over whether to make a White House run ever since leaving his House seat in January. The Republican lost his primary race last year after President Trump made a last-hour push for his GOP opponent, Katie Arrington. Arrington lost in the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
Sanford is set to make his decision over the next month, telling the newspaper he is weighing whether a run is viable. The former South Carolina governor’s aim is to push “a national debate about America’s mounting debt, deficit and government spending,” the Post and Courier reported.
“Sometimes in life you’ve got to say what you’ve got to say, whether there’s an audience or not for that message,” Sanford explained. “I feel convicted.”
He added, “I’m a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending, and financial matters.”
According to Reason, Sanford “largely advocated for limited government during his time in Congress” and criticized President Trump several times over his policies and rhetoric.
Any Republican campaign challenging President Trump faces an uphill battle, given the president’s popularity among GOP voters and the Republican National Committee’s “undivided” support. But Sanford has made notable comebacks over his 25 years in the public arena.
While serving in his state’s highest office, Sanford disappeared for nearly a week in 2009 as his aides claimed he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He later confessed that he had been in Argentina carrying on an extramarital affair, and was censured.
Despite his rocky stint as South Carolina’s governor, Sanford successfully won back his previously held congressional seat in 2013.
But Sanford could have trouble getting any help from his party even in his home state. Drew McKissick, the chairman of the South Carolina GOP told the Wall Street Journal of Sanford’s potential run, “The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his governorship. This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian Trail.”
Responding to the news of a possible Sanford challenge, President Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said: “Whatever.”
The only Republican who has formally announced a bid to topple President Trump is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. When asked about Weld’s campaign announcement, then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responded, “Who?”