Days after we speculated as to his political future, former South Carolina governor and two-time U.S. congressman Mark Sanford announced that he would be participating in a public forum in Charleston, S.C.
Sanford will appear later this month at a “Pints and Politics” event sponsored by The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.
Will this gathering provide any clarity as to his future plans?
We will have to wait and see …
Sanford represented the Palmetto State’s first congressional district in the U.S. congress from 1995-2001 and again from 2013-2019. In between he spent two terms as governor of South Carolina from 2003-2011 – a tenure highlighted by his memorable fall from grace in the aftermath of an exposed extramarital affair.
Prior to that drama, Sanford was regarded as a likely Republican presidential candidate.
Sanford pulled off a remarkable comeback after reaching his nadir, but his chronic hypocrisy on fiscal issues – and his feud with U.S. president Donald Trump – cost him broad swaths of GOP support.
As a result, Sanford was defeated in a GOP primary last spring by former state representative Katie Arrington. After controversially choosing not to endorse Arrington last fall – a move which helped throw this seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham – the 59-year-old politician has lost most of his remaining Republican backing.
For these reasons, we believe Sanford is more likely to seek office again as an independent … if he runs.[su_dominion_video_scb]
He certainly has the cash to support such an effort. Sanford ended 2018 with a whopping $1.3 million in his congressional account, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Meanwhile, according to an April 2019 filing with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) he has more than $1 million in his 2006 gubernatorial reelection account.
In other words, Sanford has more than enough money to mount a credible independent bid for office.
Three Republicans are currently vying for the right to go up against Cunningham next November.
Among these three GOP candidates, state representative Nancy Mace is currently the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination – however Mount Pleasant, S.C. town councilwoman Kathy Landing is retaining national fundraisers and vowing to give Mace a competitive race. Beaufort County councilman Michael Covert is the other announced candidate.
Obviously, if Sanford were to enter the race as an independent the path to victory for the eventual GOP nominee would all but evaporate – basically taking the Republican Party’s top national takeover target off the 2020 congressional map.
For those of you interested in attending, Sanford’s appearance will take place on Thursday, July 25 between 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. EDT at Container Bar (2130 Mount Pleasant Street, Charleston S.C. 29403).
We look forward to updating our readers in the event there is any news to report from this gathering.
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