Mark Sanford, a former Congressman and Governor from South Carolina, announced during a press conference in New Hampshire on Tuesday that he was suspending his presidential campaign.
“”I am suspending my race for the Presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,” Sanford said.
“From day one, I was fully aware of how hard it would be to elevate these issues with a sitting president of my own party ignoring them. Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican Party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment,” he added.
I admired that Sanford desired to run on something other than “Trump bad” in comparison to President Trump’s other challengers for the Republican nomination, former Illinois U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.
He was right that no presidential candidate was addressing the national debt. He focused on a policy issue and that was refreshing.
That said, challenging Trump for the Republican nomination was a long-shot, at best, especially when several state Republican parties (South Carolina, Nevada, and Kansas) have announced they would not hold a primary or caucus. An independent campaign seems to make more sense.
Sanford’s short-lived campaign was virtually nonexistent in Iowa. Outside of a short trip to Iowa shortly after announcing, Sanford, to my knowledge, never ventured back to the state instead focusing on New Hampshire.
If you want Republicans to take you seriously you have to engage them and it seemed, to me, like he gave up on Iowa quickly. I have no doubt that many Republicans in Iowa did not welcome his entry into the presidential race and perhaps didn’t want to roll out the welcome mat, but I suspect that was also largely true in New Hampshire as well.
He’s not alone. Walsh and Weld have barely ventured into the state as well. Weld spoke at the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox during the Iowa State Fair in August and Walsh had one event in Des Moines in September.
It seems they don’t see fit to campaign in the First in the Nation state either.
So farewell Mark Sanford, we in Iowa never knew you.