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. Blake

    Ahhhh Mark Sanford...an obvious hypocrite apparently outing someone, or trying to smear an obviously effeminate man.
    So is ole Andre actually gay? I don't know. But in that Ralph Reed, or Lindsey Graham kind of way...he is, well, a cissy.
    Also just for the record, I'm a gay, white, southern male, same age range as all these guys, so I am not slinging mud, just calling it like I see it.
    In the end....A hypocrite & a cissy.
    Ahhhh South Carolina, the "palmetto state". For those of you who don't know a palmetto is a tree (beautiful in my opinion) that most southereners think of as a weed. Again, I say, Ahhhhhh South Carolina :-)

    September 3, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Matthew

    Could the SC Republican party be any more classy? Between this and Levi Johnston's Vanity Fair article, the Republican party are putting on quite a circus/freak show!

    September 3, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. SC Peach

    "Thou shall not committ adultery" is one of the 10 Commandments. Focus on your own sins, bible thumper.

    September 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Paul

    What? He's not gay, so "that boy is a good boy"? So if he was gay, he'd be a bad boy? That's as offensive as anything else being said by these idiots. Using sexual orientation to smear someone in the first place is hate. Trying to sing and dance your way out of this PR crisis by saying he's not is also hate. Being gay is not a strike against someone. The comment about eye colour is bang-on. Wow. Your country is goofy with this stuff.

    The better answer may have been, "whether I am gay or not is not the issue. My character ensures that I'm monogamous and I respect the sanctity of a committed relationship with my chosen partner. I do not condone or practice deceit and indifelity, which strikes me as a more significant moral crisis than my imagined sexuality."

    Just a thought...

    September 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. David in Dallas

    Not that there's anything wrong with that ! Americans have become such jokes that I am embarrased to be one, especially one from the south. The southern U.S. is proof that our educational system has slipped below third-world standards. Bauer can't be gay because he is a "good boy"? It reminds me of my aunt from Louisiana, who had a son gayer than a goose, but in her mind he couldn't be gay because he was a Christian boy.

    September 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. oristo

    Bauer is gay, in his earlier years I was told he used to visit and frequent a place on rivers ave, in North Charleston SC call big
    Jim's I was told by a friend that he liked man 2 man action. I don't
    personally know, but that is what I was told about 10 years ago.

    But why is this cat smearing Gays by saying Bauer is a good boy,
    if he was gay would he be a bad boy. Come on now he had some rumors too! Maybe they both be gay boys and are good together!
    HUH! something to think about now, I saw broke back mountain!

    September 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. barb

    One more desperate try to get the focus off Sanford's year-long affair paid for by the tax payers.

    Republicans are famous for changing the attention of Americans when they are guilty of un-Christian behavior. But the wise Americans are on to their tricks!

    Sanford needs to work on cleansing his soul. Judgement day is near and it won't be before a Republican committee or paid for by a group of lobbiests!

    September 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. William

    Living in Columbia, SC we hear a lot about "Jakey" Knotts. He likes to spout off at every opportunity, and he's a complete idiot. Since when did politics become about the politicians? Aren't we living in a democracy in which the government has a responsibility to its people? I'm just sick of the back and forth, and it's about dam* time our state gets down to business on REAL issues. Sanford has shifted focus from our ridiculously awful school systems, poor economy, and crappy everything else to his personal life. Stop the b.s. and let's get some work done. Can we finally get some jobs in this state? Can we finally educate our kids? Can we PLEASE stop spreading rumors like we're in a high school clique?! We have bigger issues than someone's sexual orientation or indiscretions. I've always heard, "Don't sweat the small stuff..."

    September 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. SC

    That's THE TRAVESTY of typical Republican strategy.

    September 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. just.thomas

    What I think is that If Gov. Sanford really love that mistress, let him go for her. He is looking for the love which his wife did not offer to him, so I believe he found someone whom he really like or some one who really love him.

    September 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. malcat

    For those who think the finger of a supporter of health reform was bitten off by a non-supporter: Here are the facts straight from ABC News..

    "My understanding is that it was a supporter of health care reform who got into a confrontation with a non-supporter and the non-supporter got his finger bit off," Capt. Bruce Norris of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department told ABC News. "My understanding is that the event was organized by MoveOn.org."

    I think this country would be so much better off if ALL of us would stick to the facts instead of ranting on about things we 'hear'.

    September 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Sandra

    Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton and Pelosi are the Best Team America Ever Had.

    Go Team Go, We Support You. Majority of Americans Voted you, that is why you are there. You are doing a Great Job.

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are Criminals, Put them in Jail. :|

    September 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. walleye

    Who gives a hoot what politician is gay, straight or bent over as long as they are not corrupt, cheating on their spouse or running down people on motorcycles. I like what the Iranian Ahmedinajahd (sp) said that there were no gays in his country. I guess thats also true for the GOP.

    September 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Tracy

    Children – grow up. I'm actually tired of reading (and hearing) about SC's school yard antics. Enough already.

    September 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. I Can See Argentina from my Front Porch

    And these people are suppose to be grown-ups??
    Sanford and the rest of the bunch need to knock it off. Better yet, Sanford should just resign and be done with it. This is embarrassing.

    September 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Carole

    Sad how the right wing nutjobs will actually buy into this like they bought into the Death Panels and the Birther conspiracy. You have to feel sorry for the fools.

    The rightwing nutjobs have so many phobias: Race, Sex and Cultural. Yet and still we have the following Republicans that seem to show the hypocrisy: Diaper Wearing Vitter; Sex Fiend in the Mens room Craig; Mocha skin Lovin' Sanford with some Chiles; Ensign with Pay for Play sex of his best friend's wife; Lest we forget Cantor going to a Brittney Spears concert instead of a Presidential speech.

    What a sad affilliation to be with when you can't be yourself.

    These people are being left behind while the 'world' moves onward.

    September 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Grow up media.

    September 3, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. Cleve

    It's so telling that Republicans keep using gay people, such as myself, as a scapegoat or derogatory excuse, for everything. Funny how it's usually Republicans elected to serve office that keep getting involved in sex scandals. Are they jealous?

    September 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. FactCheck

    Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy... why the Republican Party is filled with no-gay leaders.

    September 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Lisa

    Sanford is such a tool.... the Lt Gov hasn't gone down to the bottom scaping Sanford's standards – y'know – cheating on your wife, sneaking out of the country, lying, more lying, more cheating, lying some more, blame others, and throw in a heapin' helpin' of narcissistic arrogance. Sanford is a slimeball who tries to dirty everything and everyone around him to deflect the attention away from his outrageous, digusting behavior. Can't SC get rid of him already?

    September 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    Please resign. Maybe you can join the other quitter in Hong Kong and . . . . . . stay there!
    It's embarrassing. Do you have any pride at all?

    September 3, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. MartiM, Plano, TX

    We will have made real progress in this country when being gay is not a stigma.

    September 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. oristo

    South Carolina will progress one day beyond this petty measure of a man's sexuality. However, right now these people make us look like
    the hatfields and the McCoys. People gay or straight should not be a job qualification, A person can do a great job regardless of who they share a bed with. I hate the haters maybe the haters should leave
    south carolina.

    September 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Wanda in Montana

    So what if he's gay? Does it matter? I guess only if you're a minority. That would be GOP members. Who admits they're a Republican anymore? I only know one and she's 91 and too old to change.

    September 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. CONNIE

    why are we believing heresay. Its just gossip and dems stop it. repubs stop it this country is so torn apart i am ready to get the hell out of here with my money and never look back. This is not the American i was proud of no not anymore. The Liberals has destroyed it. I am sorry but not everyone should get what they want. But they sure are trying.

    September 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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