Mark Sanford, 59, a Republican, is the former governor of South Carolina (2003-2011) and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995-2001).
Sanford is infamous for disappearing for six days in 2009, from June 18 to June 24. No one knew where he was — not his family (including his wife), or his staff, or South Carolina’s law enforcement. He did not answer 15 cell phone calls from his chief of staff; he also failed to call his family on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21.
Before he disappeared, Sanford told his staff that he would be hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It turned out he actually was in Argentina.
On June 24, reporter Gina Smith of The State, the daily newspaper of Columbia, South Carolina, intercepted Sanford when he arrived at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport on a flight from Argentina. Having been discovered, Sanford held a news conference several hours later in which he admitted to adultery with María Belén Chapur, a 43-year-old divorced mother of two in Buenos Aires whom Sanford called his “soul mate”.
Sanford’s wife, Jenny, filed for divorce, which was finalized in March 2010.
Although Mark Sanford resigned as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he refused to resign his governorship of South Carolina. Sanford eventually reimbursed taxpayers for expenses he had incurred one year earlier with his mistress in Argentina, only after a Freedom of Information Act request was filed. On August 9, 2009, the AP reported that Sanford may have violated state law by other inappropriate use of state planes, including using a state plane to get a haircut. In January 2010, by a vote of 102–11, the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a resolution to censure Sanford.
Following completion of his service as governor in January 2011, Sanford was hired as a paid political contributor for Fox News Channel. In August 2012, he became engaged to his former mistress Chapur, but the engagement was broken off two years later in September 2014.
Yesterday morning, standing next to a tiny wooden lecturn in Sanford held a news conference to formally announce he would challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.
As reported by Anna Orso for the Philadelphia Inquirer — who was the only reporter present — only one person who was not a reporter or a news photographer or Sanford’s aide, showed up for the announcement.
That person was Bill Quinn, a 63-year-old retired lawyer from Philadelphia and the father of one of Sanford’s former University of Chicago students. Quinn is a Democrat. He said that while he supports Sanford’s bid and believes what he’s doing is important, he has no plans to switch party registrations and vote in the GOP primary.
In contrast, 54,000, including 30,000 outside the American Airlines Center where the rally was held, showed up for the Trump rally in Dallas, Texas, yesterday. Among them were Democrats (21.4%) and Latinos (11%). (Source).
The National Journal and GovTrack rated Mark Sanford as “moderate” and a “centrist Republican”. (Source: Ballotpedia)