Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, announced on Sunday, Sept. 8, that he is running for president as a Republican.
“I am here to tell you now that I am going to get in,” Sanford said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” ″This is the beginning of a long walk.”
Sanford said he aims to put his Appalachian trail travails behind him for good as he tries to navigate a path to the presidency.
He tweeted, “I am compelled to enter the Presidential Primary as a Republican for several reasons—the most important of which is to further and foster a national debate on our nation’s debt, deficits, and spending.”
Mark Sanford added, “I respect the view of many Republican friends who have suggested that I not run, but I simply counter that competition makes us stronger. I believe competition of ideas is good, not bad, for the Republican Party and for our country.”
Sanford specifically made reference to the debt, deficit, and government spending. Other conservatives expressed concern about these issues when Trump helped Congress pass a spending bill that increases spending caps and suspends the debt ceiling, allowing for more government borrowing until July 31, 2021, according to Fox News.
The 59-year-old Sanford has long been an outspoken critic of Trump’s, often debating his motivations and qualifications during the run-up to the presidential campaign in 2016 and calling Trump’s candidacy “a particularly tough pill to swallow.”
Ultimately, though, Sanford said he would support Trump in the 2016 general election, although he had “no stomach for his personal style and his penchant for regularly demeaning others,” continuing a drumbeat that the then-candidate release his tax returns.
Sanford won three terms for the U.S. House in the 1990s, then two four-year terms as governor before the affair marred the end of his second term. He returned to politics and won a special election to his former U.S. House seat in 2013, holding twice as much.
As the main focus of his presidential bid, Sanford said he’s planning to zero in on holding down federal spending, an issue he’s been railing against since his initial House stint. Known as a deficit hawk during his Capitol Hill years, Sanford voiced determination to bring debt and fiscal restraint into the national conversation.
“Let’s go out and try to force a conversation about that which is not being talked about in this country,” Sanford said Sunday.
The Executive Committee of the South Carolina Republican Party voted Saturday to skip a presidential primary in 2020, leaving an open path for President Donald Trump to win all delegates without competition from the Palmetto State, according to CNN. The move reflects Trump’s strong support within the GOP establishment and the party’s voters as he heads into his re-election campaign.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press.