[image-1] Republicans and Democrats have been waiting to see whether Rep. Mark Sanford would endorse in the contest to determine who will replace him in Congress.
A week before Election Day, Sanford told the Post and Courier that he would not be backing anyone in the race, telling the paper that “part of leadership, at times, means knowing when it’s best to keep quiet.”
In an exit interview on Vox co-founder Ezra Klein’s podcast this week, Sanford riffs on his view of democracy in the age of Trump, celebrity politics, “latitude with the truth,” and the role that partisanship plays in governing.
About 52 minutes into the conversation, Sanford mentions his experience on the campaign trail with Rep. Katie Arrington, saying that there were times when she lied.
Here’s Sanford talking anecdotally about encounters with Arrington on the campaign trail when asked about what he’d like to see change in Republican politics.
“In my primary, my opponent took latitude with the truth in a way that I’ve never before seen. And it goes back to the question that the person in the town hall raised of, ‘Wait a minute, if the president can do it, why can’t I?’ We’d have a debate and something would come up and I’d say, ‘You whatever.’ And they’d say, ‘No I didn’t.’ And you go back to your folks that night and you’d go ‘Did you guys give me bad information? What’s the story here?’ [Staff responding] ‘No, she’s just making it up.'”
Sanford went on to say that he hopes such “latitude with the truth” is temporary in politics.
Arrington defeated Sanford in the June Republican primary after he fell out of favor with President Donald Trump for criticizing him and she became the Trump candidate.
Sanford told Klein that he lost because, “I wasn’t Trump enough in the age of Trump.”
[content-1] The president issued a last-minute Twitter missive the afternoon of the primary, going on to brag about his prowess in engineering small state contests to sink a disloyal Republican in favor of a malleable challenger like Arrington.
Arrington faces Democratic candidate Joe Cunningham in the Tuesday election. Sensing a race that may be closer than previously thought, the National Republican Campaign Committee is dumping more than $225,000 into negative TV ads for the race, according to FEC filings.
Charleston City Paper has endorsed Cunningham, saying “Even if she’s not being compared to Cunningham, freshman Republican state Rep. Katie Arrington’s caustic, partisan rhetoric should not be elevated to Congress.”
For full election coverage, check charlestoncitypaper.com/election.