June 22nd, 2009
09:25 PM ET
2 years ago

South Carolina governor goes missing

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has mysteriously stepped out of the public eye.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has mysteriously stepped out of the public eye.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – After a bruising session with the state legislature, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has mysteriously stepped out of the public eye.

Even his wife, Jenny, said Monday that she didn’t know where the governor was, according to the Associated Press. But Sanford's office expressed no concern Monday afternoon about his absence.

Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said Sanford “put in a lot of time during this last legislative session, and after the session winds down it's not uncommon for him to go out of pocket for a few days at a time to clear his head.”

However, Sawyer added in a statement sent to CNN: “Obviously, that's going to be somewhat out of the question this time given the attention this particular absence has gotten. Before leaving last week, he let staff know his whereabouts and that he'd be difficult to reach. Should any emergencies arise between the times in which he checks in, our staff would obviously be in contact with other state officials as the situation warrants before making any decisions.”

Earlier in the day, Sawyer said Sanford had simply taken some time away from work to “recharge after the stimulus battle.” Sawyer did not address Jenny Sanford’s comments to the AP in either statement.

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 vehicle on 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 added: "On Saturday, I still was getting wind that he had not shown back up and nobody knew where he was."

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

"He needs to transfer the power and let the lieutenant governor, which the constitution requires, let him be the person that makes the decisions." Knotts said. "My concern was 'Who would be in charge should an emergency arrive for the safety of the people and citizens of the state?'"

State Senate Minority Leader John Land, a Democrat, accused Sanford of engaging in "erratic" behavior.

"We've been concerned by the governor's erratic behavior for some time," Land said in a prepared statement. "We're praying for him and his family. I hope he is safe and that he contacts the First Lady and his family soon."


Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Enlightened Voter

    The republicans and bush already ruined this country and stanford like every other rethug politician can't stand that President Obama is trying to fix it. Honestly, repubs, besides bankrupting this country, starting an illegal costly war and lying to us about it, causing the world to hate us and deregulating the banks what did the repubs do for us the last eight years?

    June 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Phil

    Did anyone check his bunker?

    June 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. GOP = 21st century dodo

    @ Rev. Wright:

    "Obama is missing the ability to be a competant President. I think people are beginning to see that you need more experience than "community organizer" to handle the job."

    I've seen some variation of the "people are beginning to see" meme every day since Jan 21.

    June 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. andtheycallhimleader?

    Rehab/psych ward.

    June 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. susan

    Isn't this called a VACATION? Give me a BREAK!

    June 22, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. KirksNoseHair

    He's embarrassed. And he should be. He engaged in a bunch of self-serving political grandstanding over the stimulus money and got dope-smacked for it in public.

    Leave him alone and let him lick his wounds, LOL

    June 22, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Johnny Boy

    Please stay away and don't come back Gov Sanford

    June 22, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Walter

    Maybe he went fishing with Sheriff Taylor and Opie.

    June 22, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. dustbunny

    Ha Ha you libs are funny. Whenever I'm down ,I come on here for some laughs. You guys realy crack me up. You think you are so smart and cute. I get a good yuck out of you peoples rants and dumb comments. Yup for a good laugh read this blog. The gov more than likley got sick of you libs whinning and crying all the time, and decided to get some alone time form you clowns.

    June 22, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Pat

    He probably checked himself into the Betty Ford center..

    June 22, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Guy

    Ok guys calm down and ease up. Let's make sure he is ok before we start piling on. I am far from a fan of the governor but the sheer malice I am seeing on here, especially when we have no clue what might have happened is more than a little disturbing. To my fellow democrats I also say, think how we would react if this was Governor Rendell or Governor Richardson who was missing and we saw people saying these kinds of things about them? Its ok for us to disagree, why do we always have to be enemies?

    June 22, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. jake

    In other news the liberals and dems are upset on this bored because they didn't get a check that Obama promised them during his champaign instead he bought himself a new teleprompter and sent the rest to help Hamas

    June 22, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. johnrj08

    This guy has a serious mental disorder if he has to hide like this, even from his own family. The word 'unstable' comes to mind first.

    June 22, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Michele

    Mick June 22nd, 2009 5:14 pm ET

    Just doing his "Barack Obama on Iran" impression. Pretty good if you ask me."

    That's hardly fair. Obama gave a very strong speech about the situation, if you bothered to listen. We do not need to be sending bombs over there...he is not "bomb Iran" McCain, which is why he's in the White House.

    Sanford appears to be unstable...I hope he's all right, but it sure is a good way to keep your face in the news.

    June 22, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. Erick in AL

    OK, to the right wing haters, SHUT UP! Obama is not and is not trying to be a dictator.Stop watching Fox news and get the truth!They are fear mongering and trying to make Americans afraid.Gov. Sanford is probably stressed but he should have put someone in charge and made sure his wife knew if she is telling the truth.This is odd but who knows? But can he handle the White House if he can't handle a mid-size state like South Carolina?? And Obama is working, more than our previous president did.Obama has NOT returned home at all, while Bush had already been to Crawford, TX several times by his 6 month mark.

    June 22, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Kitty

    CAn't a man just go fishing for a few days? Yeah his wife knows 'about' where he is, maybe state and river with the best trout, but she doesn't know exactly where. Heck if you asked me where my husband was during his personal three day fishing trip, I'd tell you I don't know either. What did you expect her to say "here is a map, go bug him".

    June 22, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. jake

    In other news the liberals and dems are upset on this board because they didn't get a check that Obama promised them during his champaign instead he bought himself a new teleprompter and sent the rest to help Hamas

    June 22, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. beverly

    Perhaps he ended up in Alaska and got hung up in the BIG EARTHQUAKE that hit there today! Maybe Sara Palin will let him stay overnight at her house, and they can watch Russia!!

    June 22, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Big Ed

    I hope he is alright. If this is on of his usual down time getaways, it was done in a very irresponsible manner. Again, I hope he is safe and healthy.

    June 22, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. tee

    Rev Wright
    What people are you refering to..........comment made by you repugs are without thought, without facts, without logic.........just plenty of hate...which make you appear very ignorant.

    June 22, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Mike F.

    The way politicians are attacked by both sides makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would ever aspire to be a politician.

    June 22, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Den

    To Dustbunny–

    Learn to spell, spend some time on your grammar, and figure out how to post a comment that actually makes a point about the story. What you've put up so far does nothing but make you look ignorant.

    June 22, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. lisa

    Sanford takes a state car and leaves. Nobody, not even his family, knows of his whereabouts or mental state over Father's Day weekend. And they're not even concerned.

    Any Red Flags here? What if the nation or SC had a national security issue? Where is Mark Sanford? Who is paying for Sanford's leave and expenses? What kind of 'family values' or values in general is this person displaying? Is this a medical/psychiatric leave? The state of SC has a right to know. Is this a rehab visit? Who is paying? What kind of representation are the people of SC getting? They have a right to know.

    June 22, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Babs

    Maybe he went to Iran. After all it's the Republicans who want Obama to make some great big negative statement against the leadership of Iran and their currant post election problems and really open up the bees nest. Since Obama hasn't done that maybe Sanford thinks he can gain politically by going over there himself and inserting some powerful U. S. wisdom and power. He could use the excuse he was looking for some leaders of mass distruction.

    June 22, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Bev - NYC

    And the Republicans think this guy is Presidential material?
    Poor baby needs some me time to decide how to spend millions. Wish someone was lining up to offer me millions, I think I would be able to handle it without the dramatics. Hope he reimburses the State of SC for mileage on that unauthorized joy ride in a govenment vehicle.

    June 22, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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