Local legislators react to Mark Sanford’s presidential bid

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One Beaufort County lawmaker believes the timing is "not right" for the Republican party

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – He stepped out of the spotlight after losing his South Carolina congressional seat, now Mark Sanford wants a new job as president.

The former governor and Lowcountry leader announced his candidacy this weekend.

“I think that as a Republican party we have lost our way,” said Sanford.

He says he believes he could be the person to help set the Republican party right.

The last time we saw Sanford was last year, conceding the First District Congressional Republican Primary to Trump supporter Katie Arrington.

Sanford only lost one election in his entire political career — his last one — and although he knows its “long odds” to beat President Trump for the Republican nomination this time, he says it’s worth the risk.

“I think we are walking toward the most certain financial storm in history of our country. We are not having a conversation on debt deficit and spending which used to be a cornerstone on what the Republican party was all about,” Sanford said. “I think we also need to have a conversation about this notion in the way we are connected to the world. Are we looking inward or outward?”

“Do you believe Mark’s end goal is to be President?” News 3 asked Michael Covert.

“No. No, I personally don’t,” he said.

The current Beaufort County Councilman and Republican Congressional Candidate says Sanford’s heart and mind is in the right place and the discussion about the economy needs to take place. But the timing of his decision may be wrong, he says.

“I have known Mark Sanford for years and like him,” explains Covert. “I don’t want to see infighting. I’m sure that cooler heads will prevail. But when you get down to brass tax.and you look at our GDP and our employment rates and you look at our unemployment complete drop-in rates. that can only grow. And in fighting, can only tear it down and I’m not going to stand for that and I won’t let that happen under my watch.”

Covert was the only Republican News 3 reached out to who was willing to speak on the topic.

Senator Lindsey Graham has been a close friend of Sanford’s; even a godfather to one of his boys. But he’s also become a staunch Trump supporter in the past two years.

State Senator Tom Davis, who spent hours with Sanford when he was governor making policy decisions, also didn’t return News 3’s calls.

Sanford himself isn’t afraid to call out the president for his actions both on and off social media.

“We need to have a conversation about humility and tone in the office which I think this President missed,” said Sanford.

Current First District Congressman, Democrat Joe Cunningham, did send a statement saying he “sees real value in inserting the debt and deficit into the conversation and called Mark Sanford last week to wish him luck.”

President Trump has already called the three Republicans running against him, Sanford, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh the “three stooges.”

Sanford responded by saying he wants to start a “real conversation” inside the party, and believes the country is suffering from “Trump fatigue.”

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