Mark Sanford Up Against Trump for Republican Nomination


Kaitlin Lee, Staff Writer

On Sept. 8, former Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina announced on Fox News that he will run for president, challenging President Trump in the 2020 Republican Primary. Sanford is the third Republican challenging the incumbent, following former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. 

Sanford served as a congressman for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District from 1995 to 2001. He was then the state’s governor from 2003 to 2011, where he faced controversy about his extramarital affair. Despite his scandal, Sanford still managed to become the congressman for the 1st Congressional District again from 2013 to 2019. 

Already, President Trump and Sanford have proven to be political foes. Sanford questioned Trump’s motivation and qualifications while he was running for president, and stated that his election was “a particularly tough pill to swallow.” In 2018, the President supported Sanford’s opponent, Rep. Katie Arrington, for a reelection bid to his congressional seat. Rep. Arrington ended up winning. 

Last month, President Trump fired a shot at Sanford, tweeting, “can you believe it? I’m at 94% approval in the Republican Party and have Three Stooges running against me. One is “Mr. Appalachian Trail” who was actually in Argentina for bad reasons” (referring to Sanford’s extramarital affair) and reassured his supporters that he would be able to fight back easily. 

Sanford shot back at President Trump, stating “in contrast to the president where he says there’s not a single thing that he sort of regrets or apologizes for, I profoundly apologize for that. And I believe in the Christian model of repentance and renewal and a second chance.”

The reason that Sanford wanted to run was that he was concerned with the identity of the Republican Party. “I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican,” he stated. “I think that as the Republican party, we have lost our way.”

He also explained his wariness with Trump’s comfort with debt. “We have lost our way on debt and deficits and spending,” he noted. “The president has called himself the king of debt.” 

When asked why he was running when he has little to no chance of winning the Republican nomination, Sanford replied, “I think you probably would have said that same thing to Donald Trump just a matter of months ago if he faced the likes of Jeb Bush and others.”

In short, Sanford’s sudden appearance in the Presidential race, as well as the appearances of other Republicans and Democrats, is sure to make the race more complex as it progresses. 

Photo courtesy of SCMP.COM