With the public tide continuing to turn against him and the state’s political establishment demanding his resignation, embattled S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford will not step aside – or take a temporary leave of absence.
“The governor has no plans to step aside, temporarily or otherwise,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told FITS. “He remains committed and determined to repair the damage he has done in his marriage and to building back the trust of the people of South Carolina.”
Sources told FITS this morning that Sanford was contemplating taking a 60-day leave of absence, as is his constitutional prerogative. Ultimately, however, the governor did not appear to have the legislative support necessary to regain power, once relinquished.
As for his immediate plans, Sawyer said the governor will be leaving Columbia tomorrow morning to spend the Fourth of July with his family in Florida.
“He will be spending the long Fourth of July holiday weekend with his family, leaving for Florida tomorrow morning,” Sawyer added. “The Sanford family asks members of the media to respect their privacy while they are together this weekend. The Sanfords also hope to take a longer family vacation toward the end of July.”
Sanford has been under intense pressure to step down – even from friends – in the wake of his affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Belen Chapur.
Sanford initially appeared to have survived the scandal, but a disastrous Associated Press interview in which he called his lover his “soul mate” and said he was “trying to fall back in love” with his wife turned the tide of public opinion against him.
The governor also contradicted his previous statements about how many times he had visited with his lover, and professed to having “crossed lines” with other women.