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. Rob

    What's the problem? He left contact info with his staff, and no hurricanes are on their way. It's not like the legislature pays him any attention anyway. They just want a scapegoat for their problems and someone to take charge if emergencies arise so they can cover their own butts.

    June 22, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |

    You guys are sick what would you say if he was dead. That is no way to talk about another human even if his political views differ from yours. So go ahead and bash his policy and his party but do you really have to poke fun at the fact that the guy could be in serious trouble? Goes to show you just how caring the DEMS really are...bleeding hearts...must be from the knife in your back!

    June 22, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Cut the man a break. He's a good man and a good conservative. At least he's not taking his wife to Broadway at the taxpayer's expense!

    June 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Just another potential GOP presidential candidate on AWOL.

    June 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. RepubliKLANs Are Stupid As Stupid Does

    Even his wife doesn't know where he went....this coming after the heels of senator Ensign cheating on his wife with a campaign staffer?


    June 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. The Vinyl Villager

    I saw him at the Charlotte airport about two weeks ago. I was kinda surprised–he seemed to be traveling alone.

    June 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. Geo

    It's obvious this guy doesn't give a dam about his wife. He's having an affair.

    June 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Wylie H.

    What am I missing here... the Governor takes off for the weekend, letting his staff know how to reach him... and the liberal media goes berserk?

    June 22, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Ken

    Seriously I hope the man is alive, and if he is I think he must have some serious emotional problems.

    June 22, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Dee, 1 Vote

    Gov Sanford, "MISSING", but this is not News, ITS RNC ACTION!

    June 22, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Jerry

    That's a VERY irresponsible headline CNN. I can't believe a Journo worth their salt would use this headline: "South Carolina governor goes missing" unless it were actually true. Sensationalism has no place in the main stream media.

    June 22, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Matt

    He probally finally realizes that Obama is a fraud and hes just not carrying on but expanding the policies of the Bush Administration. Didnt he fight to stop the "stimulus" money sent to SC that was produced out of thin air, that we and future generations have to pay back..? Smart man if you THINK about it

    June 22, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Josh

    To Wylie H.

    Actually, FOX had the story up about two hours before this posting, so, yeah, not exactly right about the liberal media, but good try!

    June 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Jim

    Oh please if Governor Richardson would only do this.

    June 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Gregg

    My guesses:
    – Went on a three day bender
    – Rehab
    – An affair
    – Hanging out in a men's bathroom with other Republicans
    – Hiding from his own failure of leadership

    What is with Republicans and taking half their terms off on vacation as Americans getting to take less and less vacation every year?!? Working Americans (unlike Bush and Sanford) take less vacation days then any other industrialized nation's workers. More "let them eat cake" politics from the fringe right

    June 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Frank Sellers

    If he's a Republican, he can stay missing as far as I'm concerned.

    June 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Hey guys, tell the Gov he's fine, we won't go after him, he's fine...tell him relax. Is not hi we're going after...even though we do have a contract against our former Gov but he's fine, LOL!! :).

    June 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. Edwin

    His wife obviously knows where he is and just doesn't want to talk about it. Why is everyone freaking out that he took a long weekend to go fishing and get away from politics during a time of non-emergency?

    June 22, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. DX in TX

    You guys are hilarious....the left hates the right; the right hates the left. For the most part neither really understand why! I think many of you use this site to release everything you hate about yourselves.

    WE finally have an intelligent, calm yet strong president at the helm. I for one am proud to call him my president.

    The rest of you should get a pet or take up another hobby other than HATING on each other.

    June 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Mike Dallas

    "leaves at odd times during the night"? Wife does not know where he is?

    Perhaps, he has slipped away for a relaxing massage with Ted Haggard's massuer

    June 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. honest Ab

    Heehahah, thanks for the funny bloggers today! I needed a good laugh. But you guys should really lay off, he may be in serious trouble. Lets hope he's okay, and just needed to get away for a while. He should have at least notified his wife of his little randavoo.

    I pray his safe return.

    June 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Zero.

    America you have no lead in the World today. Lead is your Gold...

    June 22, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. Steve

    The problem is this: a responsible governor, the chief executive of a state, leaving for days without easy contact or a clear plan of what to do if he is needed, is a person who is not demonstrating leadership skills nor clear thinking. If this has been a repeated pattern, perhaps he is in over his head, and should step down, allowing someone who is comfortable with the reigns to step into his shoes. He is clearly not presidential material.

    June 22, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8