The Quixotic odyssey officially ended before it even really began … but the speculation surrounding former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford’s political future is just beginning. And the now-former presidential candidate pivots back to his home state, some Palmetto State Republicans are no doubt exceedingly nervous about his former (future?) plans.
Sanford formally dropped out of the 2020 presidential race at a press conference in New Hampshire on Tuesday – just two months after announcing his candidacy.
“Well … that lasted about as long as his first fling with Maria,” one veteran Palmetto political observer noted, referencing the Luv Gov’s headline-grabbing affair with Latin mistress and “soulmate,” María Belén Chapur.
Surprising? Yes …
Which makes sense … Trump represents “clicks for miles,” as our founding editor Will Folks likes to say, and Democrats clearly believe their eventual 2020 nominee (whoever it is) stands a better chance of defeating Trump than they do going up against a more conventional Republican candidate.
Even so, Trump is still facing two Republicans in the primary – former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh. Neither has attracted much in the way of attention or interest, however.
One reason these challengers are struggling? Impeachment … which Sanford specifically cited in announcing his withdrawal from the race at an event held outside of the State House in Concord, New Hampshire.
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(Via: Getty Images)
“You gotta be a realist, and what I did not anticipate is an impeachment,” Sanford said, citing the hyper-partisan proceedings in Washington, D.C. that have sucked all of the oxygen out of the political debate while simultaneously galvanizing a majority of Republicans behind Trump.
Sanford was clearly growing frustrated by the lack of traction his campaign was picking up – frustration which boiled over when a GOP gathering in Londonderry, New Hampshire refused to allow him to speak owing to the risk it might offend Trump supporters.
“Are you kidding me? In a state where the motto is ‘Live Free or Die?’” Sanford wrote. “Being scared of someone being offended because someone else had a different viewpoint at a small local county event? It mirrors the cancelling of primaries, and it makes me ask what has come of the Republican Party.”
Indeed, the GOP in Sanford’s home state violated its own rules and canceled the 2020 “First in the South” presidential primary as a sop to Trump (a decision which has drawn a legal challenge, incidentally).
In an email to his supporters, Sanford wrote that he was suspending his campaign “because impeachment has made our goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now.”
“So I will find other ways to advance discussion, debate and change on our unsustainable course on debt, deficits and spending,” Sanford continued. “As I have said repeatedly, we are walking our way toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of our nation. Our current sleepwalk toward a day of financial reckoning is going to end disastrously. Our debt picture will upturn lives and threaten the American Dream, and yet sadly no one in this Presidential race is focused on it. Even sadder is the fact that in the current environment this is unlikely to change any time soon.”
He gets no argument from us on that, although as we have often pointed out Sanford was (is) hardly the ideal messenger on fiscal issues.
“The message Sanford intends to articulate against Trump needs to be heard. Desperately,” we wrote back in June.
We still feel that way …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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