Most the Republicans in the state House called Wednesday for Gov. Mark Sanford governor to resign. It’s the largest indication of Sanford’s evaporating support in his attempt to turn the page on his June disappearance.
A letter to Sanford from 60 of the caucus’ 71 members noted the continuing saga was a drain on the state’s prosperity, including some longtime Sanford supporters like Rep. Tim Scott, a Charleston Republican and a primary candidate for lieutenant governor. Reps. Chip Limehouse, Mike Sottile, and Annette Young also singed the request the governor resign.
“We have collectively come to the conclusion that South Carolina will not be able to move forward under your leadership,” writes House Majority Leader Kenneth Bingham (R-Cayce).
Sanford’s troubles began in June when he went missing for nearly a week, eventually returning and admitting to a year-long affair that had taken him to Argentina for five days. The governor’s attempts to repair his marriage took a turn for the worst last month when his wife very publicly moved out of the state mansion. And his effort to move past the incident with voters has been dogged by media investigations into opulent air travel on the taxpayer dime and private plane trips that were not filed with the State Ethics Commission.
In some of the harshest words from fellow Republicans, the letter notes several times that it’s Sanford’s fault that we’re in this mess.
“Unless major changes are made, South Carolina will find itself perpetually sidetracked by the disarray that you have brought upon our state,” Bingham writes.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Bobby Harrell wrote his own letter asking the governor to step down. The Charleston Republican had been particularly hesitant to call for Sanford’s resignation, focusing instead on waiting for the resolution of a State Ethics investigation.
But on Tuesday, he sent a letter to Sanford saying that it was time for the governor to give up and go home.
“The issues we have facing our state and the work that needs to be accomplished is too important for us to spend this next year bogged down with the distractions Governor Sanford’s actions have created,” Harrell said in a public statement.
Senate leader Glenn McConnell, also a Charleston Republican, has said previously that the governor should “do the right thing.”