(CNN) – An outspoken critic of Mark Sanford is accusing the embattled South Carolina governor of orchestrating a smear campaign against Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.
Republican State Sen. Jake Knotts wrote to fellow members of the state legislature on Wednesday accusing Sanford and his allies of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay - a claim that was reported earlier this week by a blogger who seeks to out closeted conservative politicians.
"As a former target of a false rumor started by the Sanford Camp I can tell you with absolute certainty this attack was orchestrated on behalf of Mark Sanford, either directly or indirectly, and financially subsidized by him or one of his many 'front-groups,'" Knotts wrote. The letter was first reported by "The Palmetto Scoop," a South Carolina political Web site.
Knotts, an ally of Bauer and a fierce opponent of Sanford, said there is no truth to the gay rumors that have dogged Bauer for years.
"I have known Andre since he was eight years old," Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."
Bauer publicly called on Sanford to resign last week, a request that was promptly rejected by the governor. Bauer is also planning to enter the crowded race to succeed Sanford next year. If Sanford resigns or is forced from office before his term expires, Bauer would assume the governorship, a move that would allow him to run as an incumbent in 2010. Bauer said if Sanford resigns within the next month, he would bow out of the governor's race.
Bauer himself addressed the gay rumors earlier this summer, telling The State newspaper: "One word, two letters. 'No.' Let's go ahead and dispel that now."
"It's an absolute effort by Sanford's people to discredit Andre," Knotts said of the rumors. "Sanford hates Andre so bad it's pitiful."
Knotts said allies of the governor shopped the rumor because "they dont like that Andre is young, Andre is smart, and they see Andre as a threat to them."
"Every time I have seen Andre and as long as I've known him, he's always had a pretty girlfriend," Knotts told CNN. "They love him, he treats them well, he treats them nice, he treats them with respect. He doesn't hang out in bars and go from woman to woman. Everybody that knows Andre knows for sure he ain't been seen hanging on to no damn man."
Sanford's office pushed back hard against Knotts' allegations.
"This letter is simply wrong - and in that regard, as bizarre as many of the other claims and attacks of recent weeks," said Sanford spokesman Ben Fox. "Some have even argued this indeed points to an obsession with slandering anyone who tries to change the 'good ol' boy' system of politics in Columbia.
"South Carolina is facing serious challenges, and the Governor is dedicated to addressing these challenges alongside other members of the legislature committed to the same," he said. "We have a state capital with too much spending, too little transparency, and as shown by this letter, at times too many political attacks."
Knotts is the state senator who first raised questions about Sanford's mysterious absence from Columbia in June, before it was revealed that the governor had left the country to visit his mistress. In the letter to fellow legislators, he repeated his demand that Sanford step down or be impeached.
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Bigots are crawling out from under their rocks.
Sanford, why are you still in office? You have disgraced yourself to the point of not being effective, step aside and let someone else get some work done.
Aside from any other sleaziness in this story, the idea that being gay is a 'discredit' to someone is loathesome to say the list.
"Good boys" are not gay? Pathetic.
Sanford running a smear campaign against ANYBODY is comedy within itself.
Claims of adultery and homosexuality swirling around South Carolina's political circles does the state no good. I wonder how effectively it is being run with all these accusations which tend to hinge on lifestyle deviance more than anything else.
"I have known Andre since he was 8 years," Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."
Thus implying that gay men are not "good boys." Nice prejudice there, Knotts. Good thing they didn't accuse him of being a closet Mexican. Have a nice day!
"That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."
Didn't Bauer say he would not run for the seat in 2010?
Republican ying yang: Gays are a profitable political target to "move" the Christian Right base; some Republicans are gay. What do the Republicans do now ? Just drop the targeting of gays. First,, when they wake up, they'll realize it's good politics. Second, they won't feel so sleazy about themselves. Third, IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO !
B T W Republicans, how is that anti Hispanic thing working out for you ?
They should impeach Gov. Sanfond!
Good grief! Does anyone care who might or might not be gay? Does anyone still believe Mark Sanford can run this state? He's a poster boy for mental imbalance. It's an embarrassment to live in this state.
Instead of worrying about who shows up on someone's arm, let's worry about our unemployment, our incredibly poor schools....let's even worry about beach renourishment, anything but the drivel coming out of Columbia!
So what if he was gay? People in SC need to modernize their way of thinking. This deep-south, right-wing, neo-con, ideology is not what the rest of America is like or needs. Who cares if the man is gay – does that make him any less able to do this job? I dont really care what sexual affiliation you have – if you're not a liar (like Sanford), you've got my vote!
How crazy are Republicans. Why does it even matter, in this day and age, if someone was gay or not? It should not be an issue anymore!!!
I love listening to Republicans attack each other. It's such a nice change from the normal Democrat (liberal) bashing they love to do so much.
Someone needs to call roto-rooter and dislodge Sanford from the position he holds as KING TURD of SC.
He needs to go. He's so typical C-Street Republican that will do anything to hang onto his lucrative position and benefits. GET HIM OUT OF OFFICE.
CAGE MATCH!!!! Two elephants enter, one leaves!
Keep up the in-fighting, it gives you less time to mis-inform the ignorant base that seems to be today's conservative constituency.
Lies don't become truth no matter how loud you yell it. Hear that Tea Bag Express?
So, being homosexual is incompatible with being a "good boy." Now THAT'S a great defense. How about a defense of "it's not true, but if it were, who cares?"
Oh, GOD. Here we go again.
When push comes to shove, I honestly do agree more with the Republicans than the Democrats...I just wish they didn't have to talk and act like such jackholes.
No! Say it ain't so! A Republican spreading lies about someone he doesn't like! Can't be!
Like Bush/Rove and McCain's illegitimate child.
Or Bush/Rove and the swift boat liars.
Or the birthers and Obama is not a citizen.
Or the Obama is a terrorist.
Wait. The Republicans wouldn't know truth, honor, or class if it bit them where the sun doesn't shine.
just gotta love those upright, moral, Christian Republican politicians
In the words of Dick Cheney, So? I've heard Lindsey Graham was too. Is he? Don't know, furthermore could care less. If Mr. Knotts and Mr. Sanford were doing the jobs they're being paid to do, maybe they'd both have a lot less time to spread rumors about others.
I wonder if God told him to do it. Apparently, God talks to Gov. Sanford a lot. This is the reason he gave for not resigning. Why didn't he listen to God before he had the extramarital activities.
"Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. " Uh, because homosexuals are bad? Gotta love the deep south.
wow, so if he was gay he wouldn't be a "good boy"??? The people in ths country are ridiculous....spreading rumors that someone is gay so they won't get elected? what are they running for, 6th grade class president
oh dear god. knotts is worse than the governor. doesn't he realize that he is the homophobic one? It is so hard to believe that so many narrow minded people still exist in this country and amazing that so many of them hold political office.
"That boy is a good boy." How offensive is that statement? As if being gay makes you a bad person. Outrageous.