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.

Follow Peter Hamby on Twitter.


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

    I'd like to note this section of the article:

    "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 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.'"

    So, if he was gay he would NOT be a good person? It seems that being gay or calling something gay is one of the last domains of publicly excepted discrimination. If there were rumors Bauer was part American Indian, Hispanic, Black, or even handicapped, Knotts wouldn't say Andre is a "good boy" in the face of those allegations. Will there ever be a day when politicians won't give lip service to an allegation that has no place in the political arena. I know this is the South and ignorance has deeper seeds there, but come on people...watch your words. The gay and lesbian community is tired of being America's punching bag.

    September 3, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Ali

    "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.

    Hmmm....is he implying then that homosexuals are bad? What's wrong with these southerners??

    September 3, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Duck Fallas

    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body."

    ...at the moment.

    September 3, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Mike

    Typical ignorant redneck remark "that boy is a good boy". Like he can't be a good boy if he were gay... which from all appearances, I'd say he is. Wonder how long it will take for him to come up with a beard... I mean WIFE... like the governor of Florida did when he was vying to become McCain's VP.

    September 3, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Sam's Nemesis

    Anything else going on in the country? Maybe Obama will finally realize that America DOES NOT WANT his health care agenda......now that woulkd be news!!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Big Blue Patriot

    Ah. "The Party of Hate" rears its ugly head once more.

    Jesus would "regurgitate."

    September 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. jeffrey reel

    "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."

    How homophobic can you get?

    September 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Bob in VA

    Methinks the Lt. Gov. doth protest too much.

    September 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Casey Nance

    It is sad that in this day and age, being gay and in a political office would be a bad or undesirable thing. That Knotts, Bauer's supported stated: "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." is dreadful. Is he, in his "good ole boy" way saying that he's a good boy because he is heterosexual?

    I'm sick to death of all these good ole boys and their hypocrisy.

    September 3, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Moderate Democrat

    The gift that keeps on giving. Republicans, in the SAME state, representing the SAME constituents...can't even get along.

    That tells you everything you need to know. I mean these two are not representing seperate demographics....they are representing the SAME people, and they can't co-operate.

    Republicans, when they don't have a democrat to blame, they blame each other. How pathetic your party is. I would be ashamed to be part of your domestic terrorist network.

    September 3, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. xine

    Dear Sen. Knotts:

    "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."

    So, if he were gay he would somehow not be a 'good boy'. I get what you're trying to say, but you might want to choose your words more carefully.

    September 3, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Ted

    Can they just get rid of Sanford and give him a one way ticket to go to his soul mate in Argentina? What an absolute jerk.

    September 3, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. timmy

    This Knott's guy is a homophobe. I would not support his views or Sanford's. Neither Bauer or Sanford or Knotts should be the governor next. I am offended by the statement "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy". Are you saying homosexuals are bad? because that's what it sounds like. Sexuality should not matter if he is a capable leader. Ask Barney Frank

    September 3, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    And so Kntotts says: "That boy is a good boy" in refuting the accusation of homosexuality. Hmmm

    Not sure this "defense" is any better than the homophobe's accusation.

    September 3, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Anyone who thinks Regent College is a real academic institution is a complete and utter retard. Seriously. And after Bush packed the Justice Dept and other government agencies with graduates of that so-called "school," because Robertson was basically the equivalent of his personally mullah, we've got these Christian fundie nincompoops running amok in positions of relative power. The GOP daydream of turning America into a "krischun nashun" is the single biggest threat to everything upon which our country and our society was founded....and that's the God' honest truth, no matter how hard they scream, rant, rave and lie while misusing the word "socialism."

    September 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Ben

    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy." I assume that means that all homosexuals are bad...typical closed-minded republican thinking. They will never be a big tent party because they are filled with too much hate.
    In time that hate will collaspe the party completely. I almost feel sorry for them.

    September 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Akin

    Andre Bauer was born in March 20, 1969 with no spouse. He is still looking for either Miss right or Mr. right. I guess for him to be a good governor, he needs to be given time to find his partner. For Mark, he has wife and concubines at least that demonstrate that Mark is straight and not gay. What about Andre? None! None!!! None!!!

    September 3, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. AJ

    "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."

    SO, if Bauer were gay he wouldnt be a "good boy?" What a stupid thing for Knotts to say.

    September 3, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Pepou

    If Sanford did not exist he would have to be invented. What's wrong with being gay ? Except that they don't cheat on their wives ...

    September 3, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Bill, Bloominton IL

    So Knotts is saying Homosexuality is bad? Knotts is the one who should be in trouble.

    September 3, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. wow

    Sanford is just a liar a thief and and all around creep. Nuff said.

    September 3, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Mike Mundy, Houston, TX

    As a bleeding heart conservative, I say this..I would rather have a conservative, GAY Governor any day, then a Governor who exhibits ARROGANCE and DIGRACE! RESIGN ALREADY!! You do no service to the Republican Party on a National scale!!

    September 3, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Jay T.

    Someone cue the circus music, please.

    September 3, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Lisa B

    That's right Sanford...God views you in much better regard because you lied, cheated on your wife, used taxpayers money for your Argentinian trists, destroyed your boys, destroyed your wife and your career and failed at governing your state. Of course, all of this is so much better than if you were gay! Why is this lying sack of crap still in office?

    September 3, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Tommy

    Can this guy get any scummier?

    September 3, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12