The Impending Return of Mark Sanford?

Scandal-plagued or not, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford reportedly isn't willing to concede that his political career is over.
by | July 20, 2010

The Washington Post has piece stating that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's vote for Elena Kagan pretty much guarantees that he will have a credible Republican primary challenge in 2014, when he's next up for reelection. That isn't big news.

Given some of the stands he's taken and given the state he represents, I was actually quite surprised that Graham didn't have a strong primary challenge in 2008. I wouldn't be the first person to say that it's more likely that has a new job by 2014 or runs as an independent (or even a Democrat) or simply retires than that he runs again as a Republican -- I don't see how he could win.

However, the Post story did include an interesting tidbit when it listed possible opponents for Graham:

* Mark Sanford: Yes, that Mark Sanford. The soon-to-be-former governor has made clear to political insiders that he is interested in a return to politics and targeting Graham in 2014 might give Sanford enough time to rehab his badly damaged image.

I think Sanford's fundamental problem in making a comeback wouldn't be that he had an affair or that he traveled to Argentina without letting people in South Carolina know where he was. It would be that he wasn't a popular governor even before he did those things.

One reason Republicans are angry at Graham is his on-again, off-again support for cap-and-trade. So, it's also worth noting that Sanford's views on climate change are quite moderate in the context of the 2010 Republican Party.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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