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.
I don't approve of what Sanford did while under oath but honestly I think it may be best for him to finish out his term. I commend Bauer for willingly placing his own career and interests on hold for the sake of his state. Very noble.
What a circus! Great comedy. Not 200 points of IQ in the whole darn state!
Does anyone in government pay attention to the most important thing, which is running the state? The reason Sanford should resign is that he jeopardized his job, period. Instead, the leadership only cares about the next election.
Bauer was twice nominated by the SC Republican Party and elected Lt. Governor in very competitive elections. There is no reason he should make a pledge not to run for governor in 2010. We elected him second banana knowing full well he might succeed to the governorship.
Andre, grow a pair.
It still amazes me, that politicians, are so hypocritial reagarding true moral values. In a way, it serves the Republican's right, for founding their platform on something that I don't think any Politicians have.
If we actually start digging into the lives of most politicians, we will find things that are not mentionable. but, not to equate politicians and Hollywood, is quite naive.
Let politicians be politicians, accept them with all the defects that we all know that they have. Let's only measure them by the work that they do for their constituents.
Let's leave family and religious values were they belong. In the family and at home.
Wow, an adult mind in the Repuglican party. Who'd have thought?
He has nothing to lose here... 'rise above' the politics and capture some following for being a stand-up guy willing to put the best interest of the constituents above politics. Then, either run for Senate (or maybe even President/VP spot) spring-boarding off the short term of Governor. Or, run against the incumbent from the next Governorship election in the next race. I think we're seeing a GOP rising star here!
No mercy. No quarter. It's time for the American people to hold the elected to a higher standard. I remember the indignate filth put forth by the republican party. This was done to sway the unenlightened masses to vote for them in upcoming elections. Here's a perfect example of the chickens coming home to roost. It's time the republicans feel the heat. The old saying the people who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones has never been more relevent.
The governor needs to resign today by all possissble means. He discuss me! He ran off to Argentina to cheat behibd his wife back on the taxpayers money. Then he mislead the workers and the people of his state that he was vacationing lier! Resign now Sanford are you will be forced out by your own party! You called for Clinton impeachment and now the people are calling for yours! What goes around comes around get it!
I betcha that if Bauer takes the governorship in this manner, he will run in 2010 anyway. His operatves will create a "grassroots movement" to draft him for the nomination, and he will accept by "listening to the many voices and responding to the demands of the people of South Carolina."
Ho HO... How many of these political people change their minds later on? Leave the dude in office so he can show case the republican agenda...ok?
Another example of the political class thinking they can create new laws for themselves!!! There is a succession procedure in place, maybe inconvenient to candidates for the next election – but follow it!
Sanford has proven himself unfit for executive office. South Carolina cannot go another 18 months wondering if she can count on her chief executive. I wish him good luck & God speed in his personal life, but the state deserves better.
PLEASE stop reporting on this...He is just another cheating/unfaithful governor/politician.
So where was the compromise for Spitzer??? same actions, same end result. RESIGN you hypocrite Republican.
Wow, how ridiculous. He should be able to run.
"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."
This is all that matters...POLITICS. Not the people. Not governing. It's all political theatrics.
If their priorities were in order, Bauer's career would not factor into the equation. It should be about what is right for the state and people of SC.
I do not know if Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is a good thing or not. But one thing seems quite clear....Sanford needs to pack up and resign.
Quite simply Sanford has to resign! Period!...If he chooses to stay in office he will be an absolute hypocrite, especially considering all the fuss he raised over Clinton! Come on Governor, practice what you preach!
I do not know if Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer assuming the governorship would be a good thing or not. But one thing seems quite clear...Sanford needs to resign.
I like Bauer's comment that no one is acting like an adult. The sad part is that it's not surprising.
So once again the party is more important than the citizens of SC.
No impeachment because it might hurt the party. Unbelievable!
I hope South Carolina is being properly run while all the shenanigans are taking place.
Those who are adamant that this is a private matter and one should MYOB are either blinded by political fanaticism or relate 100% to this kind of behavior. Take your pick! Let's remove the infidelity part of the equation a bit and digest this: ABSCONDING FROM ONE'S POLITICAL OFFICE WITH NO OFFICIAL DIRECTIVE IS UNETHICAL.
If he did appoint someone to run the show during his absence it should have been made public, and if persons sought to concoct an an alibi as to his whereabouts, they need to be reprimanded and/or removed from office. That being said, I hope he can do some soul searching and pray unceasingly for proper guidance.
He should be kicked out of office. He calls for Impeachment on everyone else and speaks to other moralility and cheating on ones spouse. Then why should he not be held to the same standards that he holds others to. IMPEACH HIS BUTT!!!!
Sanford is another disgusting piece of human flesh that is putting his career over the well being of his family and his state. He not only deserted his family, he also deserted his state.
He needs to be ousted from government now!