Mark Sanford, a Republican former U.S. congressman from South Carolina, said on Tuesday he is considering mounting a primary challenge to President Donald Trump over the rising federal debt.
Sanford, 59, a longtime Trump critic who lost his seat in the House of Representatives last year after he was challenged by a Trump supporter in the Republican primary, will decide in the next month whether to make a long-shot bid against Trump for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, he told Reuters.
Watching last month’s Democratic debates pushed him to consider taking on Trump, Sanford said.
“There’s not one mention either by one of the panelists or by one of the candidates on debt, deficit and government spending, not one,” Sanford said. “I’ve watched concurrently as the president has rolled out action on the various things that drive our debt and deficit.”
William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, currently is the only Republican attempting to unseat Trump, who has consolidated his grip on the party’s national and state machinery.
Sanford said he kept waiting for other Republican candidates to declare and “nobody went.” He reached a “tipping point,” he said.
Trump’s campaign raised $135 million since he filed for re-election on the day he took office, and the Republican National Committee and other committees formed by Trump also are raising money for his re-election.
Twenty-five Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination ahead of the general election in November 2020.
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod in Charleston and James Oliphant in Washington.; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Susan Thomas and Bill Trott)