(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford forcefully rejected his lieutenant governor's request that he resign for the good of the state, telling reporters Wednesday: "I am not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks that were never fans of mine in the first place."
Sanford called a press conference to respond to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who said earlier in the day "that the best interests of the people of South Carolina can no longer be served by the current administration." Bauer also promised voters that if Sanford resigns and he assumes the governorship, he will not go through with his long-held plans to enter the 2010 governor's race.
But Sanford dismissed Bauer's offer - which was made formally in a letter sent to Sanford's office - and accused Bauer and other critics of cynically trying to exploit his weakened political position in the wake of recent investigations into his travel expenses.
"A lot of what's going on is pure politics, plain and simple," he said.
Bauer and Sanford were elected separately to their offices, and they are not politically or personally close.
Sanford sarcastically said that while "it would represent heaven on earth" to take Bauer up on his offer, he'd rather focus on solving the state's problems for the remainder of his term.
The governor, whose office sits just feet from Bauer's in the state House, responded to his number two with his own sharply-worded letter. "I most humbly decline your offer," Sanford wrote, "but thank you for it nonetheless."
The embattled governor claimed that most South Carolinians have moved on from his admission in June that he had an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman, a disclosure that sparked investigations into his use of state resources. But Sanford said political rivals continue to stir up controversy for "payback" and that the media keeps covering the story "because it helps sell papers."
Sanford continued to defend his administration's "incredible record" of using taxpayer money wisely for international and domestic travel.
House Republicans are meeting this weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for their annual retreat, and the topic of impeachment is likely to dominate the agenda, according to those planning to attend. Members of the House Judiciary Committee have told CNN there are enough votes on the committee to send an impeachment motion to the floor of the House.
The power of impeachment in South Carolina, according to the state constitution, is reserved for "cases of serious crimes or serious misconduct in office."
Another overblown and self-entitled ego on the political scene.
Politicians represent us. They're our so-called leaders. The message Sanford is sending is that it's okay to cheat and lie, and equally okay to let it slide as though nothing happened. No dice, man. He needs to find a new line of work–one he's suited for.
Approx. 6months he was such a great conservatative the new word for affair
"A lot of what's going on is pure politics, plain and simple," he said.
Naw Gov. I would venture to say that a lot of what's going on, has been going on. Primarily the fact that YOU'VE been playing politics with your state's well-being; that your constituents no longer trust you to have THEIR best interests in mind; and that, although at first glance a private issue, you've been doing a lot of your thinking with the head that's below the stairs.
I agree with Sanford, I would not resign either. He made a tragic mistake with another woman however, that doesn't mean he cannot run the state and take care of business. His personal life is in a shambles but it will take care of itself and he will mend all the pieces with his wife. Spitzer was a great governor but he did the same mistake. Spitzer and his wife are together and he should not have resigned as governor. A cheater is a cheater whether or not your in the limelight.
Seriously–where were all you folks when Bill Clinton was doing worse under the desk of the Oval Office. If Bill wasn't impeachable for his actions–neither is Sanford.
There you go. Sanford is coming out fighting!! I knew he would, you try to take a Tomcat's territory they'll scratch & claw to keep it. It will be awesome when he "marks" his territory.
This is the same man that was asking for Bill Clinton to resign because of cheating. My my my how soon do the chickens come hoem to roost.
What was Gov. Sanford saying when President Clinton was having his affair with Monica Lewinski?
What ever happened to practicing what you preach?
The Republican Party has spent the better part of the last 30 years cultivating themselves as the party of family values. They tried, albeit in vain, to railroad Pres. Clinton from office via impeachment because of imprepriety with an adult White House Intern, and have now found themselves victims of their own dogma. There is the senator who tried to solicit homosexual sex in an airport bathroom, the senator who sent sexually explict text messages and e-mails to underage Congressional pages, numerous senators that have been caught cheating on their wives, and now the governor that had an affair with a woman from Argentina, who might have used tax payer money in order to visit this mistress.
I was raised a Republican. I left the party in the late 90's, because of their hypocracy. I continue to see no change.
Roger: You are so right. A person can rectify their marriage but the soldiers that died in Iraq will never be back. Sanford can change his life but their life is gone. Many married men and woman that make comments about Sanford are the same people no doubt have cheated themselves.
Gov. Sanford, you claim that you'd rather focus on solving the state's problems for the remainder of your term than be "railroaded" out of office.
Gov. Sanford, you are the biggest problem facing your state. You strike me as a petulant toddler throwing a temper tantrum. "NO! I WON'T GO!"
It's time you grew up and realized that it isn't all about you. There is no "railroading," your arrogance and hubris simply caught up to you. You have been shown the door. It is clear that if you don't leave on your own, you will be escorted out.
Sanford needs to resign, that is the political correct thing to do. Democrats resign, republicans has to be forced out. What goes around comes around. He does not have monopoly on GOD. Pay back to what he did to Bill Clinton.
People, please stop talking about Sanford being re-elected. He's term-limited. It's really getting annoying.
As a Democrat, I hope he stays in office. Let him be the shining example of "Republican family moral values and financial restraint". Ha ha ha!
I love these republican hypocrites!
He shouldn't resign ONLY for the affair. True, that is a mistake he'll have to live with. But if he lives by his own rules....he was the most vocal proponent for President Clinton to resign based on his affair. Why is this not the same?
He left his duties as Governor with no one in charge of the state. His staff did not know where he was. He used SC tax money and resources to go on his trip......
Those are the impeachable offenses. Not just the moral issue. But the moral issue also doesn't leave him with any credibility. What legislature is going to be willing to work with him....GOP or Democrat. The state is in debt (since he didn't want use stimulus money for projects, but wanted to pay down the state debt with it).
He should resign for the good of the people, and go get his life back together out of the public eye.
I'm not Jesus and I'll forgive him because quite frankly I don't care. But while this clown has provided me with quite a few chuckles, the same cannot be said for the residents of his state. They deserve better by all accounts. Carry on.
Devout family values Sanford should certainly resign soonest, based on his admitted unfaithfullness to his wife. His adulterous affair, abandonment of his office for several days while trysting with his lover in South America, first class junkets all over the world at state's expense............what more is needed to start an impeachment process and bring this horror show to an end. To think that this man was touted as a presidential candidate in 2012.
With your lack of good judgement, obscene hypocracy and the fact that your a southern republican you are not in a postion to be the judge if it's politics or not.
Leave already, you're washed up....
As one who votes progressive, I say let him finish his term and serve as a prime example of typical Republican "moral family values and fiscal restraint". Isn't there something in his religious book about not throwing stones? Too bad he didn't have that foresight when he condemned Clinton – he just looks like a standard issue Republican hypocrite now.
Dude... have some dignity and bail.
The governor is the CEO of the state and answers to the taxpayers. He should have resigned a long time ago. He does not do what in the best interest of the taxpayers. If this is what leadership is all about, Sanford needs to go
I agree he should resign and work on his family life. I don't agree with the comment "typical christian do as i say not as i do." The Christians I know are kind and compassionate people. Of course they are not perfect, who is, but they are forgiven.