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. SLRTX

    Yawn! Hmmm....

    Got any real news here?

    Nope? I'm outta here.

    September 3, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Ellie

    This CLEARLY is an indicator that Mark Sanford and his "gay bashing" friends are truly despicable beyond words. Mark Sanford is the SINNER of ALL SINNERS. He goes around quoting the bible while sinning himself. The fact that he's attacking the Lt. Governor proves just how much of a SLIME BALL Governor Sanford is. I'm not surprised that Mark Sanford is nothing but a RACIST and DIRTY SLEAZE BALL.

    Mark Sanford is your typical SOUTHERN RACIST SLUM DOG, he'll smile in your face while stabbing you in the back the whole time while quoting scriptures from the Bible. This is the caliber of dirty and corrupt politicians coming out of the C-Street "Frat House". These chumps think they are BETTER than everyone else, they feel they are "ENTITLED" to all their selfish GREED and POWER.

    September 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Lovett

    what bothers me is that they suggest that he might not be a "good" guy is he was gay. I hate homo phobic pigs. As long as they keep it in there beds then it is none of your freaking buissness, whether you agree with it or not.

    September 3, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. JT from Missouri

    I am a 18 year old College Freshman, and I am straight, but being gay or straight should not determine if you are right for the job or not. It is if you know how to do a good job at what you do. There are plenty of gay athletes who are open about it, and even though they are really good and exeptional at being a athlete they are still rejected because they have a different point of view. In my view being gay does not make you any less of a person. For example in 2016 if a person who is gay runs for president, I would not look at that. I would look if he or she is right and intelligent enough for the job. When choosing a canditate, Americans need to look at the person's intelligence and potential for the job instead of looking at their religion, gender, sexual orientation, or age. Even though I could not vote for Barack Obama when he ran for president, I still campaigned for him because of the "content of his character."

    September 3, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Cruzan Obama Mama

    Sanford has absolutely no class!!! He is ruthless, mean-spirited, & a hypocritc......man you Repubs are showing your true colors.

    What is the problem with being gay? Even Bauer's defender made it seem like being "gay" is a virus or something. So let me get this straight....Repubs don't like homosexuals, blacks, hispanics, pro-choice people, & the "poor." Interesting!!!!! Boy their party is going to be about 100 people by the time they are done offending people.

    September 3, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. BEP from SC

    This is OUTRAGEOUS! I am a 61 year old white female who was born and raised in SC. I've lived here all my life except during my time in undergraduate school. I am so embarrassed. These clowns are doing so much damage to the image of our state. There are many of us who did not vote for these idiots. I didn't vote for any of these jerks. I have called and emailed asking for Sanford's resignation. I can't stand him! He's an egotistical a__. I want him GONE. I want DeMint GONE (another egotistical a__. He's cut out of the same bolt of cloth.) I emailed DeMint and told him I'll do everything I can to make sure he is NOT reelected next year. I want Graham gone. "The Family" of C Street bunch are spooky to say the least. I fight for equal rights for all people and have done so since I was old enough to understand what it meant. I know tons of others here who think as I do. We are disgusted!!! I love my home state of SC.
    Signed by a huge Obama supporter.

    September 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Frankly Barney

    Geez, Erskine Caldwell lives! "Tobacco Road" indeed. Sanford's a fine one to talk. Last time I checked, the fellow's never been accused of flying to Argentina at taxpayer expense to make "Whoopee". Give us a break and please go away.

    September 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Say Hey

    "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy." So if there WAS a homosexual bone in his body that boy would be a "bad boy?" Sounds like another Republican is looking to give somebody a good, sound spanking! Someone give Larry Craig a call. He'll show 'em how to do it.

    September 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Rose

    Wow, when are people gone to step beyond bigtory, ignorance and hate? Being gay doesn't make you bad, just like being straight doesn't make you smart!

    September 3, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Zach

    The real question that should be asked is why anyone should care if Bauer is in fact gay. This "smear campaign" implies that there is something wrong with being gay, when there is not! Furthermore, Knotts' remarks show just how prejudice people are even today. Being gay is a NON-ISSUE, especially when there are such serious problems to address in the country and around the world. This story rivals those that described people who "accused" Obama of being Muslim, as if that, too, should be a problem! People need to read more and open minds; this kind of ignorance is painful.

    September 3, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Tedd

    The underlying part of all this is that a man cannot be a politician and gay at the same time. So what if he might be gay...would he be a good governor is the question they should be asking.

    So glad I moved to Canada where a politician's sexuality isn't even on the media radar!!

    September 3, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Fenarkleman

    "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."

    Yep, no Southern stereotyping there. Nope. No sir. Not like Southerners can't see that gay people are just that. People. Not to be equated with degenerates.

    Tennessee Williams. Southerner. Believe he was gay. Truman Capote. Same thing. And on and on. But hey, why listen to reason when you can just pretend you're Foghorn Leghorn, right? I say, I say, I keep mah feathuhs numbud, for just sech an ocasheon. (Translation: I keep my feathers numbered for just such an occassion. Foghorn liked to say that. A lot). Foghorn Leghorn for South Carolina governor!

    September 3, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Jake

    Sanford...just a good old-fashioned, classy, Republican boy!

    September 3, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Tony

    I missed the part about how there's something wrong with being gay.

    September 3, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Barbara

    Sanford is not only despicable – he's an out-and-out ugly somebody too!

    September 3, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Brad

    Wow...talk about back back woods South Carolina. What is this? 1950?

    September 3, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. charlie in Maine

    "not that there's anything wrong with that"

    Jerry Sienfeld 1991

    Hey Sanford, you live in a moral glass house you idiot....... put down that boulder.

    September 3, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Garocob

    "That boy is a good boy"....I guess if your Gay your'e not a good boy. Just another smear of the gay community by those who don't even have a full set of teeth.

    September 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. SMLPeter

    A Republican involved in a smear campaign....what will they think of next !!!

    September 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. No Nose is Bad Nose

    Never trust a man without nostrils!

    September 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Va 4 Obama

    And this is SURPRISING how??????

    September 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. TICKED IN GA

    And what if the rumors were true??? Would he not still be a "good boy"???? What a bunch of hypocrits!

    September 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Sean

    So I'm wondering why being gay should be something that sinks your political career. I mean Sanford is an adulturer, and we can all plainly see why that's bad, but being gay? So what? I don't vote for someone based on their sexual likes and dislikes, I vote for them based on their policy positions. What they do in their own private bedroom is of absolutely no concern to me.

    September 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Arlene, Illinois

    I put Sanford right up next to the impeached Gov. of
    Illinois, Blagojevich.

    September 3, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Tom St. Paul

    South Carolinians: This is shocking to read in 2009! Is this how you people smear one another down there, by calling one another gay? And these are your state's leaders, not high school Beavises and Buttheads. Please assure us that this is not what it seems, that most people in your state really don't behave this way!

    September 3, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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