Sanford announces return to politics
January 16th, 2013
09:32 AM ET
10 years ago

Sanford announces return to politics

Washington (CNN) - Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford formally announced his campaign for the U.S. House on Wednesday morning, casting himself as a fiscal conservative intent on reducing government spending.

"I am running because our country's future is at stake if we don't get our hands around runaway government spending in Washington," Sanford said in a statement. "And given our nation's long-term financial problems, we need more who have shown themselves to be leaders in standing up to the big spenders, regardless of party."

CNN first reported Sanford's planned political comeback in December. He confirmed his intentions in an interview with the conservative National Review on Tuesday afternoon.

Sanford addressed concerns about the extramarital affair that many thought ended his political career in 2009. That summer, Sanford left the state without telling his staff to visit his girlfriend in Argentina, and admitted the affair in an emotional press conference carried live on national television.

"I think that the bigger issue is, don't judge any one person by their best day, don't judge them by their worst day," Sanford said Tuesday. "Look at the totality, the whole of their life, and make judgments accordingly."

Sanford's ex-wife Jenny told reporters Monday that Mark's ability to handle questions about the affair "will make or break his campaign."

Sanford said he will focus his House campaign on issues of debt and spending.

Sanford intends to seek the Republican nomination in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, a seat being vacated by Rep. Tim Scott, who was appointed to the United States Senate late last year by Gov. Nikki Haley.

The open House seat has already drawn a bumper crop of possible Republican candidates, including state Sen. Larry Grooms and Teddy Turner, the son of CNN founder Ted Turner.

The deadline to file for the seat is Friday.

Whoever wins the GOP primary on March 19 is all-but-certain to take the seat, since the district is drawn to favor Republicans. The general election will take place on May 7.

Sanford, who resides in the Charleston area, represented the coastal district from 1995 to 2001.

In 2002, he was elected governor, serving two terms and plotting an eventual presidential campaign before the affair derailed his national ambitions.

Filed under: Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Wonder

    What ever happened to that "family values" thing?

    January 16, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Back from the Appalachian Trail , former Gov. Argentina thinks he can get back into politics. Gov. Argentina can't answer questions about his affair without sticking his foot in his mouth. His scandal, just like Weiner's, is still fresh in everyones memories.

    January 16, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Sanford will be forever tainted by his going AWOL from the governer's mansion. But, as we all know, conservatives are extremely forgiving of their own. I am fully confident that conservative voters will remain true to form by willfully ignoring Sanford's transgressions and misdemeanors because they would never vote for a liberal, even if their very lives depended on it. Yes, I think a disturbing and growing number of conservative voters are just that stupid.

    January 16, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. nothing new here

    Sanford's ex-wife Jenny told reporters Monday that Mark's ability to handle questions about the affair "will make or break his campaign."
    Jenny is a wise and sensible woman. I agree 200% with her assessment.

    January 16, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, he loved the runaway government spending when it helped him to balance his budget retroactively in SC. Like the old saying goes, South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.

    January 16, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    ...and the tightie righties had the cajones to blast Anthony Weiner for his possible return. Yet any word from them on this disgrace?

    January 16, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Nick

    Ha ha ha... Mr. Appalachian Trail is back!

    January 16, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Sanford is the poster boy of the holier than thou Family Values GOP/Tea Party.

    January 16, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. James Bond

    I would love to hear a new party line this is getting old, bye bye republican party, hello right wing insanity

    January 16, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The deadline to file for the seat is Friday.
    Will he be in the country to file or will he be Fed-Exing the necessary paperwork from Argentina? Or is it Columbia these days? Hard to keep up.
    Whatever. It will be as interesting as watching paint dry to see if the good folks of enlightened South Kakalakee will decide to recycle and re-use their in-state trash.

    January 16, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. chilly g

    is this the best south carolina can do, please vote for someone with higher standards. this huy is just bad.

    January 16, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |