June 22nd, 2009
10:44 PM ET
6 years ago

Sanford hiking Appalachian Trail, his office says

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford mysteriously disappeared last Thursday.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford mysteriously disappeared last Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mark Sanford's office is now saying that the South Carolina governor is hiking the Appalachian trail.

In a late Monday e-mail to reporters, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer apologized "for taking so long to send this update," explaining that he "was waiting to see if a more definitive idea of what part of the Trail he was on before we did so."

The Appalachian trail stretches from Georgia to Maine.

Sanford has been mysteriously absent for four days, setting the South Carolina political world abuzz with chatter about why he left and where he went. Even his wife Jenny told reporters she didn't know of his location.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and opponent of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division SUV last Thursday and had not yet returned.

"I found out that he was taking frequent trips at odd times of the night in a SLED car with no security," Knotts said. "He would be driving. I got wind that he had taken another one of these types of capers last Thursday, and that nobody knew who he was with."

Knotts said a SLED official told him on Monday that Sanford still had not returned.

Sawyer stressed that Sanford's wife and staff are not concerned about the governor.

"As we said earlier today, it isn't unusual for the governor to be out of pocket for several days after the legislative session," he said. "We knew he would be difficult to reach, and that he would be checking in infrequently. Given the media attention this has generated, we'll obviously update you once we have some more specifics to pass along."


Filed under: Extra • Mark Sanford
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. jimmy-ohio

    i may not agree with him on issues,,,but i hope he is safe,,,,this is just bizzare

    June 22, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  2. Judy from PA

    I'm sorry CNN, this is your big story? People, look up Neda. Here in the US, we are worried about the wrong things, and our President doesn't stand up for anything.

    June 22, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  3. Jan, So. Carolina

    Maybe he is with Whitey Bulger from South Boston, Ma. or with Jimmy Hoffa!!!

    June 22, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. lovable liberal

    Sounds like the best possible use of his time. Lead, follow, or get out of the way – looks as though he chose the last option.

    June 22, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  5. DeeTee

    So which is it - he's hiking or writing - or both???

    He and the wife and the staff need to get their stories coordinated!!!

    June 22, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  6. Pel

    This man is God sent for the right wing Repugs. I hope his party keep him out front in SC.

    June 22, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  7. KRN

    Great. And this guy thinks he's actually POTUS material? How much monmey has he cost the SC taxpayers with this stunt? If he can't handle the kitchen in SC, he'd never survive Washington! What an idiot...

    June 22, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  8. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    That's their story and they're sticking to it. But his wife did not know where he was. And he needed to get away from the kids to work on some writing. While hiking. Uh- huh. Another 2012 presidential hopeful goes completely around the bend.

    June 22, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. Beth Poole

    Unfortunately our governor just continues to disrespect his constituents....and what does it say to his sons....as he is a father of 4......that he did not want to be with them on Father's Day!

    June 22, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  10. Jerry

    He probably has a girlfriend if his wife doesn't know where he is.

    June 22, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  11. jt

    Not buying it. You don't go to the Appalacian trail from Columbia, SC by way of a scenic trip around Atlanta and the state of Georgia. There are direct routes from Columbia through SC that would save him many hundreds of miles.

    June 22, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. Chris in SC

    I bet he doesn't meet many fellow Republicans on the AT!

    And he helps himself to a state car to go on his trips. Is he paying for the gas and general maintenance on these vehicles? South Carolina tax payers would really like to know.

    June 22, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  13. P Alfonso

    A governor is on duty 24-7.
    What a coincidence he has been bucking head with the Fed. I surely hope he shows up in one piece. Remember John F. bucked heads with the Fed too.

    June 22, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  14. ella

    Ms. Sanford didn't notice that Mark was packing a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, a ton of water bottles, camping supplies, mosquito repellent, sunblock, pre-packed food, maybe even maps of the wilderness?

    Why would he not tell anyone in his family that he was going hiking? For 5 days+. That is a whole lot of stuff to carry on one white-collared person's back for over 5 days to live in the wild.

    This story reeks.

    June 22, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  15. Makes Me Wonder

    It would appear that Gov. Sanford is particularly unsuited for the emotional and intellectual stress of governing if this sort of "disappearance" for days on end is expected and usual at the conclusion of the performance of the duties and responsibilities to which he was elected. Makes Me Wonder if he is fit for this office.

    June 22, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  16. Jennifer

    The guy went to go spend a few days in nature to decompress after handling some understandably high-stress matters. His staff and family knew he was on the Appalachian Trail, not just each specific leg. Big deal. When you go hiking or camping, do you keep 200 people informed everytime you've moved a foot?

    Everyone gets a vacation. Leave him alone and stop turning situations like this into an excuse for a name-calling exchange or political diatribe. And if you seriously think this indicated some sort of mental breakdown (which it clearly wasn't), then at least attempt to be gracious and caring in expressing your concerns for his whereabouts.

    June 23, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  17. ninos

    Hmmmm.... probably meeting his mistress?!?!

    June 23, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. Alfred E. Neumann

    And I care, why?

    June 23, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  19. Vanessa

    Hiking? Seriously? During Father's Day? Without his kids? Either this is a lie or he is one self-absorbed fellow. How did his children feel about this? How do the residents of South Carolina feel about a Governor who takes off whenever he feels like it for as long as he likes?

    There is more to this story than we are being told.

    June 23, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  20. Rich in Seattle

    How stupid do they think we are? Now I know the Republican sheep will believe it, but seriously, nobody knew he was hiking? riiiiggghhhtttt......

    June 23, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  21. Judy from PA

    Oh God, is this sad. People are dying in the streets and we are worried about someone hiking the Ap trail. And who cares about Obama smoking?? Our country used to stand up for what was right. Now we are only concerned about what is politically correct. So sad. Obama needs to comment on Iran and Neda, and very soon.

    June 23, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  22. Marj in South Carolina

    Can he just keep on hiking till his term is over? I've had about enough of this man! He just needs to go away forever.

    June 23, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. Accountability

    And this is the guy who called Obama "Irresponsible"? He want s to be President in 2012? C'mon.....

    June 23, 2009 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  24. Gus The Willie

    Layoff the guy. I am sure he deserves a much needed break, and is also probably in need of recharging his batteries. Beside he is part of a dying regime who was bent on pressing the agenda of the right wing do no wrong religious fanatics. He probably is re-evaluating his option if he ever leaves office too. I am sure his state is in need of a use car salesman or better yet a door to door brush salesman. What else is there to do for a Republican.

    June 23, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  25. ar

    Why are we taking the word of a Sanford staffer on all of this? Sanford has been gone for about a week. Nobody knows where he really is & nobody other than the staffer has spoken to him. This is a security issue. Where is the governor of SC?

    June 23, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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