July 7th, 2009
12:34 AM ET
14 years ago

South Carolina GOP votes to censure Sanford

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/24/south.carolina.governor.emails/art.sanford.head.down.gi.jpg
caption="The South Carolina Republican Party formally reprimanded Mark Sanford on Monday."]COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - After nearly four hours of deliberation and multiple rounds of balloting, the South Carolina Republican Party voted Monday night to censure Mark Sanford for secretly traveling overseas to visit his mistress - but stopped short of calling on the governor to resign.

Members of the state party's executive committee approved a resolution censuring Sanford for conduct that demonstrated "repeated failures to act in accordance" with the party's core principles and beliefs, according to GOP sources who were on the party conference call during the vote.

The resolution also reprimands the governor for "falling below the standards expected of Republican elected officials."

Although the resolution declares that Sanford "has breached the public's trust and confidence in his ability to effectively perform the duties of his office," it does not explicitly ask him to step down.

No sitting governor has ever been censured by the South Carolina Republican Party.

"We must hold true to our core beliefs and recommit to being Republican now more than ever before," party chairwoman Karen Floyd said in a statement. "And now is the time for healing for our great state."

Sanford's office released a statement shortly after the vote.

"The governor fully appreciates the party's position, and he intends to work diligently to earn back its trust," said Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer.

The decision was made on a lengthy conference call that was organized for party members to discuss how to respond to the Sanford saga, which has consumed the South Carolina political world for two weeks.

The call at times featured heated debate among party activists on all sides of the Sanford issue. On the final ballot, 22 voted to censure Sanford, 10 voted to demand his resignation and nine voted to support the governor. It took four ballots before the resolution was approved.

Despite the differences of opinion, the party voted to "speak with one voice" about Sanford's behavior.

"We had a good healthy discussion about what our role is as a party is, versus our personal feelings, versus what the party platform says," said Kristin Maguire, executive committee member from Pickens County. "Not easy stuff."

It's difficult to tell whether the resolution will influence the governor, who continues to resist calls for him to step aside, including those from members of his party.

One Republican official who spoke to Sanford on Monday told CNN that the governor dismissed resigning, calling it "the easy way out."

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Tracy-Oakley

    South Carolina republicans are hypocrits. Dumb Gov. sanford called for Clinton to resign for something he did at his then residence. Now this jerk goes out of the country over fathers day weekend to visit his mistress. WOW, the party of the Family Values should recognize ~ actions speak way louder than their words.

    July 7, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  2. Ciera

    I beg to differ that resigning is "the easy way out." In his case, resigning is the right, decent and honorable thing for Sanford to do based upon the standard he established with regard to adultery...but I guess this standard only applies to democratic adulterers.

    With this minor slap on the wrist, the governor gets to have his cake and eat it too. I have lost all respect for leadership in South Carolina.

    July 7, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  3. Richard L

    Republican Sen. John Ensign
    Republican Sen. Larry Craig
    Republican Sen. David Vitter
    Republican Rep. Mark Foley

    Of course Republican Gov. Mark Sanford won't resign.

    July 7, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  4. Nancy, IO

    Whoopty doo. That'll teach him a lesson. Boy is Sanford in the right state.

    New York's governor was gone before you could say "Not on the taxpayers dime". What happened to South Carolina?

    July 7, 2009 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. Penguinn

    Governor Sanford resists taking the "easy way out."
    We seem to have two governors who cannot seem to discriminate between what is good for them, and the obligations they have accepted as a condition of their offices.
    Sanford and Palin may have a lot in common. Beginning with DSM-IV Diagnostic Code: 301.81 – Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is not just all about what is good for them.

    July 7, 2009 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  6. Mary

    Sounds like he broke the rules at a country club and is going to get punished. Baaad boy! tsk tsk!! Really, the south needs to grow up and drop their puritanical, hypocritical judgements on everyone. The arrogance of most of the present Republican Party members is like looking back to the 1700's. Get with it.

    July 7, 2009 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  7. Va Guy ( or a guy in VA)

    The vote seems like a half-measure. If they go so fars as to censure but will not call for resignation, they should have done nothing at all. To me, that shows a lack of will on their part...

    I doubt this will be posted because none of mine are

    July 7, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  8. hayley

    Grounded? How sad for the Governor !

    July 7, 2009 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  9. Liberal4Obama

    Once again the Republican Party fails to do what is right. The GOP might not think that running away with your mistress while abandoning your constituents and using their Tax Payer money on your sexcapades is bad enough, well they also don't think Sarah Palin quitting on her constituents after serving half her term ain't bad either.

    The GOP is like an alcoholic, the first step is to admit you have a problem and sadly the Republican party is not there yet.

    July 7, 2009 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  10. Donkey Party

    That's right GOP, totally ignore the people of SC who overwhelmlingly want Sanford out. Your party is in it's final death throes anyway, congratulations on accelerating the process.

    July 7, 2009 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  11. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The GOP is just grandstanding and being pretentious. Sanford is just a distraction. He is just being used as a scapegoat by his own party's inability to lead or to form a coherent plan. The GOP is being ignored not because of their moral hypocrisy, but because they have no plans. Their 'alternate' budget proposal was a 16 page outline with no numbers. NO NUMBERS in a BUDGET proposal? Their 'alternate' health care plan was a 3 page outline, also lacking any cost estimates, and 80% of the points were lifted near verbatim from the Obama plan. When the GOP stops whining and start thinking, and come up with plans (you know, like, doing the JOB our taxpayer dollars are paying them for) then we will pay attention. Until then, they don't deserve to be heard!

    July 7, 2009 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  12. Peter E

    Yawn! Nobody cares! Sanford is yesterday's news!

    July 7, 2009 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  13. AcidEatingLiberal

    Why would any self respecting woman have an affair with this joke and why isnt his wife filing divorce papers? These people are disgusting in the GOP! They make my skin crawl! You know what the differance between libs and neocons is though? None of these scumbags are in any danger from liberals. After reading some of the doom and gloom stuff posted on here and other right wing sites i am truly frightened for our president. It has become downrite ugly and racist. He is such a great man and a good person for anyone to see and feel but some of you are just to stupid or blinded by rightwing hate speech to see it! If anything happens to him every member of the GOP should be sent out into the Pacific Ocean on barges and sank! It would be treason on a level never seen and the whole republican or rightwing extremist party should be held accountable by paying the ultimate price! I pray that nothing like that happens but after hearing the things shouted at Palin trailor trash rallies it wouldnt suprise me. Sick disturbed evil people and people like Palin and Limbaugh get them worked up just like the Nazis did!

    July 7, 2009 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  14. now should be an easy vote to oust him

    with the GOP voting this way, the dems are not gonna disagree

    he will not do the classy thing, so vote him out SC reps

    July 7, 2009 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  15. princess

    Mark Sanford doesn't deserve my time for anything. I have better things to do

    July 7, 2009 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  16. 60's survivor

    is Sanford saying palin took the easy way out.

    July 7, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  17. JD Wallsten

    Sanford should step down – he can't be trusted to do what's best for the State
    Step Down Sanford!.

    July 7, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |