Former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford will compete for the GOP bid for a congressional seat, 1st District, with Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election May 7.
Sanford, born Marshall Clement Sanford in Florida, was a representative in the 1990s. By 2002, he was elected governor. It was then that his actions began to draw real criticism, even from within his own party. His frugal legislative practices caused concern. From initially rejecting a bid to fund the new Cooper River Bridge to vetoing proposed trade centers, Sanford seemed uninterested in growing South Carolina’s economy.
In the summer of 2005, Standard & Poors lowered the state’s excellent AAA bond rating to AA+, citing high unemployment and low per capita income levels as the reasons. Months later, Sanford was included in an article in the November edition of Time Magazine. The article listed the best and worst governors in America. You guessed it; Mark Sanford was among the three worst.
You’d think that would be enough, but he had more bad news in store for his constituents.
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In June of 2009, Sanford went missing. For six days, no one had a clue as to where he was or what may have happened to him. His wife had no word. Neither had the State Law Enforcement Division, which provided security for him, been notified. The government of our state was left in the lurch. Eventually, he returned to an Atlanta airport, where he was cornered by a reporter.
The media storm that started with his disappearance now grew to new heights as the details came to be known. He had not been hiking, but had flown to Argentina to be with his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur. Initially, Sanford did not seem to comprehend the full scope of what he had done. His quote in The State newspaper, June 24, 2009: “I don’t know how this thing got blown out of proportion.”
As a consequence of his actions, Sanford was formally charged with 37 violations by the Ethics Commission. His wife divorced him.
Now, after bringing shame to our state, Sanford wants us to trust him with another political position. I truly cannot imagine anyone -- Republican or Democrat -- feeling secure that this individual has the capability to keep our best interests in mind. I urge all who vote in these upcoming elections to keep Sanford’s past in mind to ensure the safety of South Carolina’s future.
The writer lives in Conway.