Late Monday evening, Gov. Mark Sanford’s office revealed that he is hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
On the face of it, that solves the mystery. But this article from The State, South Carolina’s main newspaper, suggests some more troubling possibilities to the story.
The governor’s spokesman would not disclose whether or not Sanford was hiking alone. And it seems that neither the governor’s office nor state authorities have been able to make contact with the him since he left the governor’s mansion on Thursday. (State Sen. Jake Knotts (R), who’s known as a critic of Sanford, told The State that he first asked the governor’s security chief what was up on Saturday "after he heard reports the governor could not be reached.")
Assuming this is true, it makes some sense of Sanford’s spokesman’s claim today that his office ‘knew’ where Sanford was (i.e., ‘on the Appalachian Trail’, which covers a lot of territory which, to be clear, covers most of the eastern United States) but that they had not been in contact with him.
Governor Sanford apparently does make regular trips without a security detail – I’m sure many governors do, but the problem is he has never been out of contact for this long.
I’ll keep up on this story, and hope and pray it will be a non-story.
Update: Found, or at least made contact according to Real Clear Politics, Governor Sanford has made contact with his chief of staff.
A spokesperson for Gov. Mark Sanford (R-MIA) has just sent an update on the whereabouts of the potential 2012 contender, saying he’ll return to his office tomorrow.
"Governor Sanford called to check in with his Chief of Staff this morning. It would be fair to say the governor was somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten," spokesperson Joel Sawyer said in an e-mail to reporters. "Given the circumstances and the attention this has garnered, the governor communicated to us that he plans on returning to the office tomorrow."
Now some are wondering if this will hurt his 2012 chances. I wouldn’t read that much into his trip and “disappearance.”
3rd Update: Unfortunately, he wasn’t hiking.