(CNN) - Two major South Carolina newspapers are calling on Gov. Mark Sanford to stay in office.
Last Wednesday, Sanford admitted to a year long extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. The governor also acknowledged he did not tell his staff that he was in Argentina during a five-day period when his location was not known.
Despite calls from some South Carolina lawmakers and politicians for the governor to resign, Sanford, meanwhile, appears to be standing firm. He wrote in a message to his political action committee e-mail list on Monday that while he considered resigning, "I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm."
The State, the Columbia newspaper that last week broke the story that Sanford was in Argentina, in an editorial Tuesday, says Sanford should stay in office to keep the playing field leveled for the 2010 gubernatorial contest. If Sanford resigns, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, a fellow Republican but no ally of Sanford, would become governor. Bauer is among a number of candidates who are interested in running for governor in 2010. Sanford is term limited and can't run for re-election next year.
"Reasonable people can disagree over whether it would be better to have Mr. Sanford or Mr. Bauer in the governor's office for the next 18 months. And if Mr. Bauer were not running for governor, this might be a more difficult call. But Mr. Bauer is running for governor, and it simply is not responsible to overlook the tremendous advantage he would have if he were able to use the bully pulpit of that office for the next year," says an op-ed in The State.
The State also raised serious questions about Bauer's preparedness to lead. "Although this could change in the coming year," they wrote, "to this point Mr. Bauer simply has not demonstrated that he has the vision to lead our state.
The editorial questioned Bauer's character and highlighted past run-ins with law enforcement, including the time he used a police radio to waive off state troopers after he was caught driving 101 MPH on a South Carolina highway in a state car.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Monday he would be open to a scenario in which he would assume the governorship but not run for the state's top office in 2010 if Governor Mark Sanford decides to resign in the coming weeks.
Bauer said that arrangement would help tamp down some of the political jockeying among other Republicans who are likely to run for governor next year as they decide how to respond to revelations about Sanford's extramarital affair. Other candidates include state Attorney General Henry McMaster, Rep. Gresham Barrett and state Rep. Nikki Haley.
"We are at an impasse now because it's all about 2010 and the next governor's race, and I don't see anyone being an adult," Bauer told CNN in an exclusive interview.
Bauer is one of several Republicans plotting a run for governor, but his rivals worry that a Sanford resignation – which would elevate Bauer to the governorship – might give Bauer an advantage in next year's governor's race because he would be running as an incumbent. Sanford is term limited and is not allowed to run for re-election in 2010.
He said he had discussed the idea of not running in 2010 with GOP leaders in the Senate, many of whom are staunch opponents of Sanford.
"What it would do is it would get the politics out of it," Bauer said. "The people that are so concerned for their own political future about running for governor, would no longer be worried if I came in and became governor, because I would just say. 'You know what? This is bigger than politics. I will go and lead in for the next 18 months and not run for re-election.'"
Sanford has tangled with Democrats and fellow Republicans in his state over spending, and whether to accept stimulus funds from the federal government.
"I am not here to judge our governor. I think more than anything I think a lot of people are concerned about his safety," said Bauer, who is also a Republican and is likely to run for governor himself in 2010.
"Someone as high-profile as the governor is, someone that has been as outspoken as he is about policy and reducing the size of government, there's a lot of people who know who he is. There are a lot of people who would not favor his politics. And we know there are many individuals out there who are unstable that would like to make a name for themselves by approaching someone in a high-profile position, and that's why people that are governors of states have security, and so for him to not even be known what state he is in, concerns us.