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. rhonda

    maybe palin

    can see where the governor is

    from her house

    yeap, ya betcha

    June 22, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. William Hamilton

    I suppose he'll emerge to announce he's running for President and ready to solve the world's problems, without first fixing South Carolina's.

    June 22, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. jeff

    I met some nuts and a few are on here attacking Palin when the artical isn't even about her

    June 22, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. citizenjane

    His staffers know where he is but his wife doesn't? Another of those "family first" republican's, is he? As far as I care, he can stay "undisclosed" for good.

    June 22, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Brad

    I just heard a rumor that he went hunting with Cheney. Yikes!!

    June 22, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. George the Democrat Obama fanatic.

    I can tell you where he is Bohemian Grove

    June 22, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. boynbrklyn

    There probably is an escort service that knows where he is...

    June 22, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Gary SC

    To bad he didn't take Lindsay with him. it's in the high 90's here, we don't need their hot air.

    June 22, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Tom Paine

    Too bad Sanford couldn't take Obama with him.

    June 22, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. quarterback

    I found him. He is at the Democratic Headquarters. He is requesting asylum from the lunatic fringe that has sunk the GOP.

    He is requesting to be sent to Cuba where the people are so much less hateful, narrow minded and violent.

    Got great cigars there, too, for a tobacco state.

    June 22, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Todd

    This is beyond erratic and flaky. When you're a governor, you can't just leave and not tell people where you are. Sanford has short changed his state all the way around. What kind of 'leader' is he pretending to be?

    And the GOP thinks this guy is presidential material? What kind of low standards do you have to have to think that this guy has any credibility whatsoever?

    June 22, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Rev. Wright

    Obama is missing the ability to be a competant President. I think people are beginning to see that you need more experience than "community organizer" to handle the job.

    June 22, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Melissa

    Interesting. Considering the trouble he has caused lately, this is suspicious to say the least.

    June 22, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. Mike

    He's been missing for years only this time he took his body with him.

    June 22, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Mike

    Liberals have mental disease said,

    "He's depressed that Obama has already ruined the country beyond any return. He is just trying to find out where he should move his family to that is a free nation."

    Congratulations, you've just won the prize for most ignorant thing ever said in a cnn comment. More proof that the education system in this country needs serious reform.

    Liberals have mental disease, do they? I bet you couldn't even define the word 'liberal.'

    June 22, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. movin' on up

    Has anyone checked the East Side?

    June 22, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Nick from SC

    We in SC are dealing with higer taxes on of all things FOOD! Yes, any prepared food is taxed at 8%, that's up from 5% at one time!! Food banks are running out of food and may have to turn some down. Yet, with people starving, Sanford can go prancing of with a Law Enforcement Car!

    June 22, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. jeff p

    What kind of a crappy Governor makes himself "difficult to reach?" This guy is pathetic. I guess the term public servant never computed in his brain.

    June 22, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. Happy in SC

    These comments are hysterical !!!!!!!!

    June 22, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. ib

    The statements made by the liberals here are pathetic. This guy has more sense in his little finger than Obama and you liberals do in your whole body.

    June 22, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Frank Stanton

    Whose "pocket" is he in? South Carolina should count itself lucky if this guy goes missing. Ask the unemployed how they feel about this jerk who refuses to take money from the fegral govrnment to extend unemployment benefits. He is another example of the typical Republican politician who hates government, but loves governing, just like our idiot governor in California, Arnold Schwarzeneger, and of course, the greatest of them all, George. W. Bush! Do the world a favor, stay missing. We won't even notice he is missing!

    June 22, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Pepper

    Interesting that his wife doesn't know where he is but his spokesman seems to know that the Gov is ok and safe. Says everything about the Gov's relationship with his wife and his spokesperson.

    June 22, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Task

    You liberals are sick. A man is missing and all you can do is scream insults because of his political party. I pity your families for having to put up with you all.

    June 22, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Nate Daniels

    Uhhh...He took a Public Safety vehicle. Even if it isn't equiped with GPS, it should still be a heck of a lot easier to find than a beat up pickup flying the confederate flag....sarcasm intentional.

    June 22, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Joe

    What is going on with our politicians?

    June 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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