Former U.S. Representative and Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina announced on Sunday that he would challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for President.
The 59-year-old’s entry into the race makes the Republican primary race a four-way contest joining former Massachusetts Bill Weld and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.
It’s a long-shot with President Trump boasting high approval poll numbers among Republicans. Also, the Republican parties in Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina announced last week they would not hold a presidential primary making a successful challenge even more unlikely.
Sanford in a video posted to his website announced that he was running for President and explained that his campaign will focus on debt and spending.
“I don’t know what will come of it, but I believe what is happening in Washington needs challenging. We are headed towards the most predictable financial crisis in the history of our country. And we’ve never been as financially vulnerable save from the start of our republic, the Civil War, and World War II. I can’t sit on the sidelines and not speak up and all of us should find a way to make our voices heard. It’s the only thing that can change things in Washington,” he said.
“My focus on debt and spending is not to suggest that other issues are not important, they are. It’s also not to suggest that I don’t have other differences with the President, I do and my comments are well chronicled. It’s just to say that in a long-shot effort, it’s best to focus. And so I will in pointing out how important it is that we change our course on debt and spending.
“Democrats aren’t talking about it and instead are in a daily competition of more versus more at the presidential level. The President himself has called himself the ‘king of debt’ and ruled out action on the very things that drive our debt and spending. As
“Every four years we focus as a country on the presidential race, what we value and where we want to go next as a nation. This is our chance. Waiting another four years for debate on this subject will hurt all of us because without an offsetting debate to more versus more, you simply end up with more and me and you will be paying for it,” he added.
Sanford served as U.S. Representative representing South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District from 1995 to 2001 before running to become South Carolina’s 115th governor. He served two terms. During the tail end of his second term after a brief disappearance, he acknowledged an extramarital affair. Despite public pressure, he refused to resign from office. He and his wife, Jennifer Sullivan, divorced in 2010.
After a two-year hiatus from politics, Sanford ran in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District again after then U.S. Rep. Tim Scott was appointed U.S. Senator by Governor Nikki Haley in 2013 after Jim DeMint announced he would retire to lead the Heritage Foundation. Sanford lost the Republican primary in 2018.
Sanford is a well-known as a budget hawk and fiscal reformer in Congress, as well as, as Governor of South Carolina.