Former South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford to Challenge Trump in Primary

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Representative Mark Sanford (R-SC) speaks at the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) in Chantilly, Virginia September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Last updated 09/08/2019 at 11:50 a.m. ET.

Former South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford will challenge President Donald Trump in the Republican Party primary, he announced on Sunday in an interview with Fox News.

“I’m here to tell you now that I am going to get in,” Sanford said on Fox News Sunday, adding that he will formally launch his bid for the party’s 2020 White House nomination in South Carolina later this week.

He becomes the third Republican to enter the race to challenge Trump, who remains popular within the Republican Party.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and former U.S. Representative from Illinois Joe Walsh have also launched long-shot campaigns, but neither candidate has gained traction.

Sanford, 59, a longtime Trump critic, lost his seat in the House of Representatives last year after he was challenged by a Trump supporter in the Republican primary.

He said he wants to run to give Republicans an alternative to Trump with “executive experience” and restore the party to its principles.

“I think that as a Republican Party, we have lost our way,” he said.

Sanford will not even be able to run in a primary in his own state. On Saturday, the South Carolina Republican Party executive committee voted not to hold a presidential primary in 2020 to save money and pave the way for Trump’s re-election.

Sanford served two terms as governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011.

His term was marked with scandal when he went missing after telling staff that he had left the state to hike the Appalachian Trail. Instead, he had traveled to Argentina to meet with his mistress, which he admitted in a news conference hours after returning.

He served two stints in Congress. First, before being elected governor, he served in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2001. After leaving the governor’s office, he was elected to a second stint from 2013 to 2019.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


  1. Morte,

    Purely from pragmatism I can understand why SC Republicans are not holding a primary. Why bother when not a one of the three “challengers” will stand up Trump in the Thunderdome. He’s incumbent and the “Master Blaster” and while they are literally “mad, bad men with no names” it would not be good return on the entertainment dollar.

    Better that the bet on the winner.

  2. REALLY??????? He needs to get over himself. I thought he was part of Sanford and son TV show…LOL

  3. Just saw him on Fox News Sunday where Chris Wallace accused him of tying to get revenge on Trump for calling him out about his affair in public. He needs to go away.

    1. On November 6th, 2018. Trump was served revenge by the voters of SC district 1. They replaced Sanford with a Democrat, not Trump’s chose R primary candidate. One of 40 Republican House seats flipped that day. I apparently need to remind you that Trump had a VERY public affair with Marla Maples while he was married to Ivana. Then there are Trump’s extra-marital affairs with porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, also VERY publicly known. You might also recall that Trump is on video bragging of “grabbing women by the pussy” and Howard Stern interviews bragging of walking in knowing teenage contestants were undressing. While Sanford is not the paragon of virtue one would expect from the religious-right, DO YOU REALLY believe Trump and Trump supporters are the appropriate ones to point that out??? Can you spell hypocrisy?

  4. Sanford is a lost cause and any fool that even considers him is a lost fool as well. Sanford the Nobody of the Establishment Swamp.

  5. The most disturbing part of this article for me was learning that there would be no primary in SC. That reeks too much of HRC’s assured lock on the superdelegates that screwed Bernie back in 2016. Granted this is state not national and it is a different party but the comparison cannot be denied.

    1. The GOP don’t want a repeat of the 1st Bush’s re-election fiasco. If there is not enough oposition allowed, it sure will be locked up in King Donald The Loser’s favor. No confusion there.

    2. I am not one of your down votes, but I think it is fairly common in both parties for a few states to opt out of primaries when there is an incumbent. CT, NY, VA and DE opted out of a Democrat primary in 2012. In 2004, when G W Bush was running for re-election, CT, NY, FL, SD and Puerto Rico opted out of holding a Republican primary contest. I responded to your earlier comment regarding the Superdelegates but I had to do it as a comment, not a response.

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