COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Monday he would be open to a scenario in which he would assume the governorship but not run for the state's top office in 2010 if Governor Mark Sanford decides to resign in the coming weeks.
Bauer said that arrangement would help tamp down some of the political jockeying among other Republicans who are likely to run for governor next year as they decide how to respond to revelations about Sanford's extramarital affair. Other candidates include state Attorney General Henry McMaster, Rep. Gresham Barrett and state Rep. Nikki Haley.
"We are at an impasse now because it's all about 2010 and the next governor's race, and I don't see anyone being an adult," Bauer told CNN in an exclusive interview.
Bauer is one of several Republicans plotting a run for governor, but his rivals worry that a Sanford resignation – which would elevate Bauer to the governorship – might give Bauer an advantage in next year's governor's race because he would be running as an incumbent. Sanford is term limited and is not allowed to run for re-election in 2010.
He said he had discussed the idea of not running in 2010 with GOP leaders in the Senate, many of whom are staunch opponents of Sanford.
"What it would do is it would get the politics out of it," Bauer said. "The people that are so concerned for their own political future about running for governor, would no longer be worried if I came in and became governor, because I would just say. 'You know what? This is bigger than politics. I will go and lead in for the next 18 months and not run for re-election.'"
Rumors are swirling in Columbia that Bauer is working behind-the-scenes with allies in the legislature to force Sanford to resign. Bauer denied any covert efforts to oust the governor and blamed his potential rivals for stirring the pot. "It's amazing how nasty this is getting," Bauer said. "It's a black cloud over South Carolina."
Asked if he had discussed with any legislators the idea of a criminal probe against Sanford, Bauer said that he had one conversation last week with state Sen. Jake Knotts - a Bauer ally - in which Knotts mentioned the possibility of an investigation.
Last Friday, Knotts called for a state law enforcement investigation into Sanford's overseas trip. Bauer said Knotts' demand is "a reasonable request" and said there are "people out there who want answers."
Bauer also pointed out that Attorney General McMaster – one of Bauer's potential gubernatorial rivals – has, in the past, chosen to investigate elected officials. McMaster issued a cautious statement last week, however, saying that an investigation into Sanford may not be warranted.
The New York Times reported Monday that Chris LaCivita, a consultant to Bauer, had e-mailed another GOP consultant asking him to pressure fellow Republicans to help push Sanford out. Bauer said he had not seen the e-mail.
"I have tried to stay about the fray in this," he said. "I have tried to conduct myself as southern gentleman."
Bauer said he had spoken to Sanford by phone a couple days ago. "He told me he thought he would be a better man because of this," Bauer said of his conversation with Sanford.
UPDATE: Rivals to Bauer point out that this isn't the first time he has promised to avoid future campaigning. In 2006, Bauer promised The Greenville News that if were to win re-election in that year's campaign for Lieutenant Governor, he would not seek the governorship in 2010.
Sanford betrayed his wife. Sounds as if political opportunists are willing to betray anyone for a shot at the governor's office.
That's big of him.
May God have mercy on each one of us !
True leadership.......Lt. Gov. Bauer is willing to put the people of S.C. ahead of his own political aspirations – very admirable!
I don't condone adultrey or homosexual activities since both are directly against God's instruction and are clearly sins. It is interesting to see how the sin of homosexuality is accepted while the sin of adultrey is not accepted. God didn't make a man or woman to have the desire to have an alduterous affair any more than God made a man or woman to have sexual desires for one of the same sex.
Both are choices. Sanford made a poor choice just as many have. Are we to help those that make poor choices or are we to throw them to the curb. Lets help the homosexuals and also the adulterers see that their ways are sinful and correctable.
Wow, a Republican with a brain. I'm shocked. Pity there aren't more of them. And I have to say its about time someone said in a roundabout way that they're all behaving like children.
Andre Bauer sure sounds the the quality of person we need as Gov. I sure hope he runs in 2010 – he has my vote.
"I'll glady pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" Bauer = the South Carolina Wimpy.
Is Bauer being the 'bigger' person in all this, or is it just more political posturing?
Oh what a tangled web we weave.................
I don't understand why a "compromise" would need to be reached. If the governor resigned, would'nt the Lt. Gov. automatically step in? Why would the Lt. Gov., then, have to promise not to run in the Gov. election of 2010? I'm confused by the issue, and the story.
I think this is a good idea. Sanford won't be able to govern efficiently (it doesn't sound like he was being one in the first place) from the deep hole he's dug himself into.
Wow,they are lining up fast to see who the new bagman is for the company owned State of S.C.Is.
That sounds like a plan to me. Just because Gov. Sanford admitted to an affair does not excuse what he did. He has enought on his plate to try and get his homelife corrected if possible than try to lead our state. his morals have not changed therefore he is still a very boig dissapointment. He and Edwards are birds of a feather. They have the mindset to be imoral and that runs over to doing imoral things as a governor.
Compromise? Bauer would become Gov if Sanford resigns no matter what. He then would run as an incumbent. We had that in CA with Swatzenegger and what we have now is California about to tank.
Once again did Bill Clinton resign when he Cheated on his wife numerous times and flat out lied to the American Public????? No he didnt so leave him alone.
Whaddya know, someone with a voice of reason. No wonder he wants to get out of politics.
we have a Gov. cheating on his wife and everyone is up in arms, but we have Dodd, Frank, Rangel and Pelosi cheating on America and everything is fine.
Don't do it Bauer, you did nothing wrong, why should you be held to 18 months because of his bad judgement? He should step down because of how bad he handled the affair. Don't bargen with him.
Andre Bauer is actually sounding like a good guy in this mess. He must not know how to play politics in which you say one thing and do another, telling all who listen that his remarks were taken out of context, twisted and otherwide perverted for political reasons.
Imagine someone doing this and following through. Wow.
Sanford is making a fool of the GOP. If he stays to complete is term limit, he will return to his mistress in waiting. Sanford's wife and children aren't his first priority because if they were he'd resign and spend all his time trying to heal his family relationship.
The next Gov of SC will be a Democrat with a happy marriage. He will not be "hiking the Appalachian Trail."
Democrats who molested children (Gerry Studds) and murdered while drunk driving (Ted Kennedy) surved multiple terms after their acts, yet Democrats demand that this guy step down.
As for republicans being hypocrites over being the party of morals and values, ok libs just point me to the republican congressman/woman who murdered someone.
As we know it is really not about a few individuals, the comparisons of red and blue America show that the right is where Americans who have morals and values reside. Compare your average New Yorker to your average person from Texas or Oklahoma, I rest my case!
I can't believe Sanford has not resigned given his admission that he used taxpayer money to fund at least one of his trips to see his lover. This is an outrage. Between him and Sarah Palin who used taxpayer money to take her children on trips with her,one has to wonder how any of them can be "fiscal conservatives." Does being a fiscal conservative just mean one is conservative with their own money and not the taxpayers? Based on recent conduct, it would appear to be so. South Carolina, kick that crum bum out of there. You deserve better.
What the Taliban members are doing now is called dancing with the Devil. When politicians say they " want to get the politics " out of any issue beware....
Another political embarassement. You did the crime now do the time. Out you go there Joe.