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Bauer: I won’t run in 2010 if Sanford resigns

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer plans to call on embattled Gov. Mark Sanford to step down during a noon news conference today. Bauer will also renew his pledge to bow out of the 2010 gubernatorial race should Sanford resign within a month or so. By early October Bauer will formally announce his intentions to seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2010.

Bauer is the first constitutional officer to join a growing chorus of lawmakers pushing for Sanford to resign, including a majority of Republican state senators.

Today’announcement, according to a source close to Bauer, is intended to send a message to State House leadership that Sanford needs to step down and Bauer won’t stand in the way. Some lawmakers have been hesitant to push for Sanford’s resignation because it would give Bauer an unfair advantage in the 2010 race, as he would be running for governor as an incumbent.

Bauer plans to send a letter to Sanford today to ask him to resign. The House Republican Caucus will discuss whether to impeach Sanford this weekend at its Myrtle Beach retreat.

If Bauer becomes governor to serve out the balance of Sanford’s term, he would make job creation and education his priorities, said a source close to Bauer.

Sanford has been under scrutiny since he secretly left the country for six days in June to visit his lover. He admitted to a yearlong extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, and he repaid the state for a 2008 state-funded trip to Argentina, where he met with his lover.

Other state-funded travel have since come under scrutiny, including Sanford’s use of the state plane and his apparent a failure to report, as state law requires, private air plane trips. Sanford has refused to resign.

-- Gina Smith