Mark Sanford Ends Primary Challenge Against Trump

Ross Houston
November 13, 2019

He participated in forums with the other two candidates, former congressman Joe Walsh of IL and former MA governor Bill Weld, but to his frustration there was little interest in his campaign platform to shrink federal spending.

Mark Sanford dropped his challenge to President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, saying the focus on impeachment has made it impossible for his campaign to gain traction.

Despite dropping out of the race, Sanford made traditional New Hampshire appearances today, greeting Secretary of State Bill Gardner in his second story office, and traipsing about the statehouse gift shop. In one of those states, South Carolina, former Republican Rep.


"What's needed here is simply a national conversation on whether or not we believe in math", Sanford said. "Ours does not add up in Washington and continued denial here could end the American civilization and the dreams that come with it". He centered his campaign on warnings about the national debt, but said Republicans were more interested in defending Trump from the threat of impeachment.

"I don't think we want to get our cues on electoral participation from North Korea", he said. A member of the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus when he was in Congress, he has always been an outspoken critic of Trump's rhetoric and policy. The president tweeted a last-minute primary endorsement of Arrington, but she eventually lost to Democrat Joe Cunningham in November despite the heavy GOP lean of the Charleston-based district.

Sanford was first elected to the House in 1994. After serving three terms, he later served as SC governor for eight years. As governor in 2009, he disappeared from the state for several days, telling his staff he was going to hike the Appalachian Trail. The married father of four returned later and admitted in a tearful press conference he had instead been in Argentina visiting his mistress.


Sanford faced his own impeachment proceedings in the state legislature at the time but was ultimately acquitted of the charges and served the remainder of his term before returning to Congress in a closely-watched 2013 special election.

But past year the congressman lost his GOP primary to challenger Katie Arrington, who slammed him for his criticism of Trump.


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