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. Stephanie

    I do love the Deep South, Most of us still have values. Yes, most of us are against homosexuality. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. If it comes out Bauer is gay, his career as a politician in South Carolina is over. Call it right, call it wrong, that is just the way it is.

    If the south is sooooo bad, why does everyone from all over the country keep moving here. If u don't like it stay where you are at. Get out of our state.

    Sanford is not the first politician to get caught cheating on his wife or using funds for upgraded travel. At least he cheated in Argentina and not in the oval office.

    September 3, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Daniel

    Even if it was true, how would being gay discredit him or make him unfit to govern a state? There's a reason conservatives are losing their offices.

    September 3, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. liberal

    So being gay is immoral?? Since when? I thought cheating on your wife was immoral......republican hypocrites at it again.

    September 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. stephen

    The only problem is that Andre bauer IS Gay. He lives with his boyfriend and I have known many people whom have dated him. He is gay and this cannot be good for him to have to deny it. He should have never said he wasn't , because many know he is and it should not be a dig deal anyway.

    September 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Ron

    One side says, "YOU are GAY!" The other side says, "NO, I'm NOT!" So now it's a contest between who can be the most anti-gay? How silly can this get? Let these right-wing nuts eat each other alive.

    September 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Robert

    Who cares if he were gay. They're acting as if being gay is a bad thing. It is neither good or bad, like eye color it just is.

    September 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This is a typical and predictable Republican technique: whenever the heat is on they look to their right and crap all over that person in the hopes that the stench will draw attention away from their "little peccadilloes" such as: gross misuse of gov't funds,adultery, tax-evasion, unnecessary wars, torturing, stealing........etc.

    September 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. republican scum

    When will America wake up and see the light. republicans are something that you need to scrape off the bottom of your boot.

    September 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Post always rejected by CNN

    Typical republican actions. Slur, flame, and lie...what else is new. Here we have a governor who should have been kicked out of office for stealing taxpayer money to pay for trips to visit his girlfriend. He is still hanging and lying and trying to slur his opponents. Will they ever stop the low down common actions, of these republicans.

    September 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Denverguy

    I lived in South Carolina for 33 years and its like being in a time warp, politicians will say and do anything to stay in power. The hatred of gays is always used for political gain.

    September 3, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Lee in San Diego

    How in the world do these ignorant people get elected....and then re-elected? Do you really want these people protecting your rights and voting on policies that affect the American people and the planet?

    He's gay or he's not.....who cares....except maybe his wife(?)

    September 3, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Eimerd

    What the heck is in the drinking water in South Carolina?
    "He is not gay, he is a good boy", wow, what a joke the
    Republicans have become.
    No Republican would ever stand a chance to be elected
    in any other part of the Western world, unless the would
    be part of the fringe lunatic right wingers like Le Pen in France.

    September 3, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Tom

    Sandford just doesn't know when to quit.

    September 3, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. a 25 year old independent

    So I was reading the article "Dems go after GOP Senate candidates" and I have finally come to the conclusion that the majority of americans are full of hate. to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if we had a civil war soon. I mean at least if that happened at least we americans wouldn't be all talk and finally take some action. Anyway both sides are acting like children and I will no longer be their puppet and vote for any of them. I hated bush, I liked obama, I liked clinton, but really has anything really really changed in my life from any of these presidents so far in my life time. NOPE!!!!! So honestly i will be throwing my vote away next year and most likely I will teach my kids to do the same and so on and so on..so instead of my family counting on anyone, we will be holding ourselves accountable for our own lives, not the government because politics will always be the same!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. syfredrick

    I'd be interested in Larry Craig or Ted Haggard's perspective on this. There's nothing like a self-loathing closet case to shed some light on the situation.

    September 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. DJ

    What if he is gay? Who cares – this is so childish.

    September 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. joel palmer

    Another closeted gay republipig? Heaven forbid If the gop didn't spend so much time demonizing gays they wouldn't always have to worry about the inevitable flap when they are outed.

    Chrlie Crist, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, and many many others are in denial about their homosexulaity; to the detriment of their party. They just look ridiculous.

    September 3, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Kathleen

    So in South Carolina it's the pro-gay rights people who declare that someone cannot be gay and a "good boy"?

    Good grief.

    September 3, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Shannon

    Wowww. Could these people be any more stereotypical hateful hicks? "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body ... he's a good boy!" This makes me sick and is disrespectful to LGBTQ people as well as to anyone who doesn't have some obsessive issue against being gay. As to the person who posted from the South saying that hating people is "moral" and that everyone moves to the South and envies them... that's pretty darn funny. I'll leave it there.

    September 3, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How many Gay Republicans do you think they have after that "little" slip of the tongue? I cannot wait to see how they try to recover from this one. This better than ANY soap opera!!! The open-your-mouth-insert-foot Party strikes again.

    September 3, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Joanne

    What is wrong if Bauer were gay? These right wing nuts are at each other's throat, let them fight it out and in the meantime don't insult gays. Whether someone is gay or not shouldn't be a criteria in holding office. It is the person's intelligence, judgement and character that counts. Being gay does not equate to "being bad" as Mr. Knotts, Mr. Bauer's ally, implied.

    September 3, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Jill-IN

    I'd never move the the SE part of the U.S. I would move a corporation out too.

    September 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. joel palmer

    Why doesn't someone out Lindsey Graham (NC) and Mitch McConnell (KY) as well? both rumored to be gay gop senators.

    Ditto David Dreier of California; out em all

    September 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Post always rejected by CNN

    Hey but the lying website drudge is trying to say that one of Obama's supporters bit the finger off one of the good old boys, paid and bought by the republicans and the health and drug companies. And by the way how does being gay or not, have to do with Obama and health care. Just another sneaky butt republican trying to slip in a lie...darn de darn those guys will do anything and I mean anything to take a swipe at Obama.

    Here we have bush WHO ABSOLUTELY AND CERTAINLY RUINED EVERYTHING GOOD about this country and the dumb butt and blind republicans support him....how did you like me sneaking this in about a gay guy.....just like old sam and mike.

    September 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. WI Vet

    So are they saying that Being Gay is so bad that they feel other Rupgs. won't vote for him and they want to disspell this. Most hanus slander.

    Is being gay so bad for the Rupgs. What of the Log-cabin guys ?

    September 3, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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