June 22nd, 2009
09:25 PM ET
10 years ago

South Carolina governor goes missing

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/11/art.sanfordpt0311.gi.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has mysteriously stepped out of the public eye."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - After a bruising session with the state legislature, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has mysteriously stepped out of the public eye.

Even his wife, Jenny, said Monday that she didn’t know where the governor was, according to the Associated Press. But Sanford's office expressed no concern Monday afternoon about his absence.

Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said Sanford “put in a lot of time during this last legislative session, and after the session winds down it's not uncommon for him to go out of pocket for a few days at a time to clear his head.”

However, Sawyer added in a statement sent to CNN: “Obviously, that's going to be somewhat out of the question this time given the attention this particular absence has gotten. Before leaving last week, he let staff know his whereabouts and that he'd be difficult to reach. Should any emergencies arise between the times in which he checks in, our staff would obviously be in contact with other state officials as the situation warrants before making any decisions.”

Earlier in the day, Sawyer said Sanford had simply taken some time away from work to “recharge after the stimulus battle.” Sawyer did not address Jenny Sanford’s comments to the AP in either statement.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and opponent of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division vehicle on Thursday and had not yet returned.

"I found out that he was taking frequent trips at odd times of the night in a SLED car with no security," Knotts said. "He would be driving. I got wind that he had taken another one of these types of capers last Thursday, and that nobody knew who he was with.

Knotts added: "On Saturday, I still was getting wind that he had not shown back up and nobody knew where he was."

Knotts said a SLED official told him on Monday that Sanford still had not returned.

"He needs to transfer the power and let the lieutenant governor, which the constitution requires, let him be the person that makes the decisions." Knotts said. "My concern was 'Who would be in charge should an emergency arrive for the safety of the people and citizens of the state?'"

State Senate Minority Leader John Land, a Democrat, accused Sanford of engaging in "erratic" behavior.

"We've been concerned by the governor's erratic behavior for some time," Land said in a prepared statement. "We're praying for him and his family. I hope he is safe and that he contacts the First Lady and his family soon."

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. jt

    The tax payers of SC need a full accounting of how his mysterious time away from the office is being charged.

    June 22, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. emily g

    Sounds like rehab to me.

    June 22, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. zago

    He's welcome to stay wherever he might be now. Thanks for stepping down. The legislature in SC should take notice of the constitutional void and fill it accordingly. Good riddance!

    June 22, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. JonDie

    In rehab? Or with another politician's wife? Or both?

    June 22, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. travis_bdboy

    Check the bathroom stalls at the local airport

    June 22, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. pam Eugene OR

    This is just so weird! Has he really lost it? He is all about running for President is 2012 and does not care about the people of his state.

    June 22, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. yuri

    Maybe Sanford needs a shrink. A long session, first with a psychoanalyst, followed by a nut-cracker with an FRCPsych degree (Fellow of the Royal College) will do him a world of good

    June 22, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Denise

    He's probably meeting with Gov. Perry to discuss secession!

    June 22, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. Vic

    I guess Sanford is working on his own reality show. Where is Mark Sanford?

    June 22, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    No loss. I hope he stays away for a very long time.

    June 22, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Shari, NY

    I hope he is safe. That being said, if he has gone missing without designating a person to take charge, obviously something is wrong.

    June 22, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Real Change

    The thing about so many of these right-wingers is that they simply don't have the temperment to be in high office.

    Mark Sanford
    Sarah Palin
    Antonin Scalia
    Jim Inhoffe
    Rick Perry
    Newt Gingrich

    These people are down-right bat crap nuts !!

    June 22, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Zero.

    Because Britain still thinks it is a Kingdom Just like the Idiot

    Reza Pahlavi still thinks he is a King.

    June 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. instantkarma

    What kind of 'family values' is this? Sanford leaves his wife and kids on father's day weekend. They don't know where he is, and are not concerned at all about his disappearance? Is this paid leave?

    June 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. GOP = 21st century dodo

    He seems just as unreliable as Palin. Good job GOP!

    June 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Hank

    Are the police looking for him?

    June 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. JM

    Even his wife doesn't know where he's at?? That's kind of strange.

    June 22, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Too bad other politician's can't take some time off.....like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, etc. Also, it wouldn't be so bad if Obama actually stayed in the White House and did some work instead of going all over the country raising money for the democrats.

    There should be term limits on ALL politicians. Some of the old has beens in the House and Senate should be replaced with new people that have some fresh ideas.

    June 22, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Typical Republican

    Be quiet all you mean lefties. Stop pointing out how his state is an absolute EMBARRASSMENT to the USA. I realize the people there are good people, but it's not Sanfords fault that he's a total and utter failure!

    He's only doing what us Republicans WANT him to do, making his people suffer! Now stop complaining about it! As republicans his job is to ENSURE his people are denied services, it's the only way to keep them voting republican, by keeping them down!

    June 22, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Drew in PDX

    Are the SC tax dollars paying for his gas?

    June 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. rhonda

    way to be a father for your kids on fathers day

    June 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Dawn in Pa

    He's MIA, you better get the special ops and undercover coverts to find him, maybe he's in Mrytle Beach, fishing with Cheney and Rove!

    June 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Mick

    Just doing his "Barack Obama on Iran" impression. Pretty good if you ask me.

    June 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Nick The Photographer

    Definitely rehab!

    June 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. The Other Michael in Houston

    Hey have ya'll checked at the bathroom stalls?

    June 22, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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