Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Carolina state troopers didn't know where Sanford was during his absence and couldn't find out from staff, the Washington Post reports.
The security detail for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was actively searching for him over the weekend and concerned about his safety, but getting the runaround from his staff in trying to contact him, the director of the state's law enforcement agency said in an interview this afternoon.
Sanford asked his protective detail to "stand down" at 1 p.m. last Thursday at his mansion, and then drove off alone in a state law enforcement sport-utility vehicle, the director said. But agents weren't concerned until they heard a rumor Saturday that the governor had been spotted speeding on a South Carolina interstate in an SUV.
"At some point during the course of all of this, we were able to talk to his chief of staff. He passed along the fact that the governor was okay. They said they were attempting to reach him about this story, they knew where he was, he was okay," [state Law Enforcement Division chief Reggie] Lloyd [pictured with Sanford above] said.
It wasn't unusual for Sanford to ask for his security detail to leave him alone for a few days, Lloyd said.
"As an adult male, he's free to come and go as he pleases," said Lloyd. "There were times when he would want to get away. He's been in office 6 1/2 years. He very much values his time away from the office. It had become routine enough that it was not suspicious."
The New York Times has a piece rounding up the history of other politicians who have liked to go missing for a few days, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jon Corzine.
It just occurred to me that when I was in Topeka a few years ago reporting a story, someone on Kathleen Sebelius' staff let slip that she was down in New Orleans for the weekend but that I shouldn't tell anyone. I guess it doesn't matter now. But if politicians like to slip away without alerting the press or much of the state government, by necessity that means this sort of thing must happen more often than we think.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.