September 3rd, 2009
06:44 PM ET
14 years ago

Sanford accused of smear campaign against Bauer

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Knotts accused Sanford of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay."]

(CNN) - An outspoken critic of Mark Sanford is accusing the embattled South Carolina governor of orchestrating a smear campaign against Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

Republican State Sen. Jake Knotts wrote to fellow members of the state legislature on Wednesday accusing Sanford and his allies of spreading rumors that Bauer is gay - a claim that was reported earlier this week by a blogger who seeks to out closeted conservative politicians.

"As a former target of a false rumor started by the Sanford Camp I can tell you with absolute certainty this attack was orchestrated on behalf of Mark Sanford, either directly or indirectly, and financially subsidized by him or one of his many 'front-groups,'" Knotts wrote. The letter was first reported by "The Palmetto Scoop," a South Carolina political Web site.

Knotts, an ally of Bauer and a fierce opponent of Sanford, said there is no truth to the gay rumors that have dogged Bauer for years.

"I have known Andre since he was eight years old," Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor."

Bauer publicly called on Sanford to resign last week, a request that was promptly rejected by the governor. Bauer is also planning to enter the crowded race to succeed Sanford next year. If Sanford resigns or is forced from office before his term expires, Bauer would assume the governorship, a move that would allow him to run as an incumbent in 2010. Bauer said if Sanford resigns within the next month, he would bow out of the governor's race.

Bauer himself addressed the gay rumors earlier this summer, telling The State newspaper: "One word, two letters. 'No.' Let's go ahead and dispel that now."

"It's an absolute effort by Sanford's people to discredit Andre," Knotts said of the rumors. "Sanford hates Andre so bad it's pitiful."

Knotts said allies of the governor shopped the rumor because "they dont like that Andre is young, Andre is smart, and they see Andre as a threat to them."

"Every time I have seen Andre and as long as I've known him, he's always had a pretty girlfriend," Knotts told CNN. "They love him, he treats them well, he treats them nice, he treats them with respect. He doesn't hang out in bars and go from woman to woman. Everybody that knows Andre knows for sure he ain't been seen hanging on to no damn man."

Sanford's office pushed back hard against Knotts' allegations.

"This letter is simply wrong - and in that regard, as bizarre as many of the other claims and attacks of recent weeks," said Sanford spokesman Ben Fox. "Some have even argued this indeed points to an obsession with slandering anyone who tries to change the 'good ol' boy' system of politics in Columbia.

"South Carolina is facing serious challenges, and the Governor is dedicated to addressing these challenges alongside other members of the legislature committed to the same," he said. "We have a state capital with too much spending, too little transparency, and as shown by this letter, at times too many political attacks."

Knotts is the state senator who first raised questions about Sanford's mysterious absence from Columbia in June, before it was revealed that the governor had left the country to visit his mistress. In the letter to fellow legislators, he repeated his demand that Sanford step down or be impeached.

Follow Peter Hamby on Twitter.

Filed under: Andre Bauer • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Donna from Colorado Springs

    How typical!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 3, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. jules sand-perkins

    Gay bashing is not a conservative value.
    I am a Republican and a Christian.
    I don't care what anybody else does in his or her bedroom. Gay or straight, I hope they have a good time. It's also none of my business if other persons want to get married. They should marry anybody they love.

    September 3, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. RobnSC

    What SC needs right now is intelligent leadership. Who cares if they are GAY, Straight, or OMG, a Woman!! A black lesbian governor may be the best thing to happen to SC now.....couldn't hurt!

    September 3, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. Wyoming Democrat

    Why don't they impeach Sanford? It appears he can no longer do his job. So gay people can't be governors? Give me a break! This country is becoming so ridiculous about EVERYTHING.

    September 3, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    So, to recap and reduce this to its simplest terms:

    Some GOPer thought it was a reasonable argument to publicly say "my buddy isn't gay, we're homophobes!!!"

    September 3, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. ddude95

    Bravo, Surly Librarian! I agree – this amounts to little more than two (or three) snakes in a cage. The majority of folks know bigotry when they see it, and this quarrel is pretty ludicrous from the get-go. Petty minds going after petty minds.

    September 3, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |

    Sanford is another political bum that needs to move on.

    September 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. John Hinkle

    Seems like this needs to be sorted out. Perhaps Sarah Palin can look into this matter for the general public. Perhaps she will go on national television and tell us which Republican is lying and which is telling the truth. I do so admire her credibility. I would never have known about the DEATH PANELS in the health bill with out her pointing it out. She is so perceptive.. she sees things others don't.

    September 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. Debby

    Please would you just impeach this guy already let him move to Brazil.

    September 3, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. randall

    What is wrong with these politicians! They seem to be living a mentality of the 1950's.

    "Knotts, an ally of Bauer and a fierce opponent of Sanford, said there is no truth to the gay rumors that have dogged Bauer for years.

    "I have known Andre since he was eight years old," Knotts told CNN. "Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy. It's a just an attempt to prevent Andre from become governor.""

    What does his sexual preference have to do with him being "a good boy" or not.... the answer nothing.

    Ignorance in it's highest form. Sexual preference has nothing to do with a person having high morals or not. It has nothing to do with making a person good or bad.

    I do hope that the "good" people of South Carolina step up and send all these people home.

    September 3, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. Joyce

    Is this a case of the kettle calling the pot black

    September 3, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Louis Jacinto

    Men are so stupid.

    September 3, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. PROUD South Carolinian

    I am very, very proud to have been born and raised in South Carolina. Governor Sanford has been nothing but an embarrassment to us. Not all people from South Carolina are homophobes, idiots, backwards, or any other slur you care to put in that sentence. We are good people and it is people like Gov. Sanford who continue to make us look like we are terrible people. Most of us would LOVE to see him impeached. I would also like to ask each person who has said awful things about the South or South Carolina if their state/country is perfect. The answer is no. Each state or country has its own history of hatred, so quit pretending like you are perfect because you are from another state or country. And for the record we are supposed to be the UNITED State of America. We should be united and quit insulting each other because that will get us nowhere. And no, South Carolina does not want to secede from the Union. The Civil War has been over for 145 years, so it's time to let that go.

    September 3, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Richie

    It's revolting that CNN reports rumors that someone is gay as a "smear". I've heard Peter Hamby's back is covered with thick black hair. Is that a "smear"?

    September 3, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. ss

    It's a sad day when being gay can be considered a discredit against an individual. We have Palin allowing, and maybe encouraging, her constituents to say " Kill him" yet she appears as innocent as the crystal snow. Another way the repugcans have the double standard and get away with it.

    September 3, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. Kick the bums out

    Well we know that Sanford is not gay.

    September 3, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  17. David

    It's a shame that "gay" is something you even have to deny. Who cares!

    September 3, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Sandra Dee

    Gay, shmay – my question is: is he COMPETENT? And if he is gay, is he at least faithful to his significant other? Don't think our current SC governor can give him lessons on THAT one.

    September 3, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. Emma

    When dishonesty and distortion are the hallmark of politicians, we ask who among our governing representatives are trustworthy.

    September 3, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Jack in Florida

    Whether Andre Bauer is or isn't gay is not the is no one's business. The real issue here is a pathetic example of a man, holding onto his old life by his finger nails named Mark Sanford. Hey Mark.....the fat lady is singing....turn up the volume and end this nonsense.........Your wife should have taught you to leave with grace and dignity. Have you looked in the mirror lately? You look like a bus ran you over............For your health and well being.....resign.

    September 3, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. Out in Calif.

    My "gaydar" says Knotts and Sanford may be a little "light in the loafers." Maybe we should try probing those 2 good old boys with a good homosexual bone.

    September 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. Alex-Los Angeles

    what does he mean by "that boy is a good boy" Is he saying that being gay is bad?

    September 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Frank, Las Vegas

    If anyone looks gay, it's Sanford.

    September 3, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Ambika

    What a shame that a good Christian adulterer has to call others gay to put them down.
    And kudos to the moron who defends the closeted gentleman - not a gay bone in his body?

    September 3, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. Agnes

    Remind me again why it is a negative thing to be accused as gay? Oh, that's right, I forgot: heterosexism.

    September 3, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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