September 3rd, 2009
06:44 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford accused of smear campaign against Bauer

Knotts accused Sanford of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay.
Knotts accused Sanford of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay.

(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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Filed under: Andre Bauer • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. landscapebear

    "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."

    If he had a homosexual bone in his body, he'd be alot better.

    September 3, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. They call me "Tater Salad"

    Mark Sanford doing something devious and underhanded? No!, thats impossible! I mean, isn't he a Republican? I thought they didn't do things like that, at least, thats what they keep telling me it seems! LOL!

    September 3, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Even if the accusation this moron is leveling at Sanford is true, you'd think he would be more conscious of how homophobic and biggotted he sounds in the manner in which he rebuts it. It's becoming crysal clear that the GOPers really just like the taste of feet.

    September 3, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Grog in Ohio

    The whole lot is an embarrassment to the people of South Carolina.

    September 3, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. lamuella

    "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. "

    What, so if he were gay he wouldn't be a "good boy"?

    The only thing as disgusting as trying to smear someone by suggesting that they are gay is the suggestion that being gay is a bad thing.

    September 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Mark is just a piece of work. Did he not have issues with Bauer when he ran on Mark's ticket ??? Didn't he think tjat a LT Govener may have to fill-in for him from time to time ??? NOW its a bad thing that the guy could be gay ??? Here he is married with 4 young boys and he is fooling around with a foriegn women and he tries to go after bauer for not publically being gay...if it were even true???? If Andre were Gay at least he isn't shoving in South Carolina's faces !!! This is just beautiful. REIGN MARK. YOU ARE MUCH WORSE THAN BAUER COULD EVER BE !!!!

    September 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Who says you can't be a "good boy" and gay? They are not mutually exclusive.

    September 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. btinc

    Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy."

    The only smear here is against gay people, not the Lt. Governor.

    September 3, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. L&i

    If he was Gay then that would make him a bad boy. SOmeone not able to hold a political office like Governor.
    I wish that people would open their eyes, minds and hearts and realize it is not your gender, your sexuality, your color, ...but your true nature as a person, your compassion, your openess to love one another, your genuine concern for all life, human, animal, plant. Your love for life and nature.
    Look past the fighting words and look into the eyes of the person. I am not writing in support or against Bauer but more to plead to the people of today to wake up and realize their is more to life than hatred and war. Love and you will be a happier more fulfilled person for it!

    September 3, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Pragmatic

    Another republican "poster boy" – when you can't defend your own behavior – you attack with lies: more fear and smear – and when it comes to hot-button words – nothing energizes the base like the word 'gay" – although this being SC – the Bush smear about McCain's fathering a "black baby" did pretty well ... must be something in that state's water ...

    September 3, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Good Gay

    Who says you can't be a "good boy" and gay? They are not mutually exclusive.

    September 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. kb

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    September 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Nathan,

    What does it say about a society that would prefer a lying, cheating, thiefing philanderer over a guy who may or may not be homosexual. Sanford is only putting this out there because he knows his constiuents. In the South Carolina bible belt a homosexual would lose to Hitler.

    September 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. cspurgeon

    Just another Republican wacko.God give this country strength to get thru this terrible time. Let the right and left wackos go to their respective corners and raise their little wackos however they want and leave the rest of us alone.

    September 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Ninos

    "this boy is a good boy?I'm sorry, when did being gay become bad? Oh, that's right! Only in the self-hating trashy south like SC! Let him come out of the closet!! He needs to hang with Ted Haggard!!!!

    September 3, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. IaguyDSM

    "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. "

    ----

    Excuse me you bigot? I know many 'good' gay people. Spreading a false rumor or course is a terrible thing but your true colors are shining through.

    September 3, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. gardine

    It's not just pitiful, it's sad. Who cares whether he's gay? Or–I should rephrase that–who should care whether he's gay? He's not the one who disappeared from his post of "running" the state and may have used state funds to go for a romantic rendezvous.

    September 3, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. kokernutz

    Would that kind of smear work in South Carolina? If it is true, who cares?

    September 3, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. mo nada

    THIS is who the republicans and the radical right are, this sort of behaviour ie spreading rumors just goes to the heart of who they are, immoral hypocrites

    September 3, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Darren

    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy."

    Way to sound like a backwoods redneck. The correct answer should have been:

    "No, he is not gay, and even if he were, who cares? Let's not deflect the focus off the person who's been engaged in illegal activity from an office of authority. That man is Mark Sanford."

    September 3, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Drama

    That is the problem with the homophobic/toe-tapping/paging hypocrisy in the Republican Party. Their oppression of others does not allow people to live their lives honestly, so they act out in unhealthy ways–Foley, Haggard, Craig, McGreevey, etc.

    On the contrary to Knotts demeaning nonsense, many Americans know far more a good boy in the gay community, than Knott's corrupt GOP.

    It is beyond comprehension how the Log Cabin Republicans stay in this homophobic party with the way they treat their community. ALL Americans surely deserve better.

    September 3, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Keith Lackie

    See, Republicans will even slit the throats of their own if they think it will get them one step ahead. It's getting so old!

    September 3, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. I am The Great and Powerful Wizard of Rush

    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body"
    Can be just cut off the "south" and set it adrift in the gulf of Mexico?

    September 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. demwit

    Its seems that the "good boy" protests a bit too much...

    September 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. A Stern

    Jake Knotts' homophobic comments are exactly why the South is still regarded as America's Wasteland of Ignorance and Baffoonery

    September 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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