Just two months after announcing that he would challenge President Donald Trump in the Republican primary, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford announced Tuesday that he was abandoning the effort.
In a press conference at the New Hampshire Statehouse, Sanford said the impeachment inquiry against Trump had sucked much of the oxygen out of the race.
“You gotta be a realist, and what I did not anticipate is an impeachment,” he said.
He said he would continue his efforts to highlight the dangers of the ballooning federal deficit.
I’m handing out trillions! Counterfeit trillions that is…Forward this to friends to try and get them to wake up to the crushing financial storm headed our way because of irresponsible spending and debt brought on by President Trump and Congress. #Sanford2020 #ReduceTheDebt pic.twitter.com/BKJ56J8wpM— Mark Sanford (@MarkSanford) November 7, 2019
The 59-year-old Republican, a long-time critic of Trump, lost his seat in Congress in 2018 to a primary challenger, now-former Rep. Katie Arrington (R-S.C.), after Trump tweeted out his support for her. Arrington went on to lose the general election to her Democratic challenger.
He faced stiff headwinds in his longshot effort to challenge Trump — even in his home state of South Carolina. Republican officials there have cancelled the Republican primary next year to smooth the way for Trump’s re-election.
Weld wrote in a statement in response to Sanford dropping out: “Mark Sanford’s voice in the primaries will be missed. A true fiscal conservative, he has advocated the common sense policies too seldom heard from Donald Trump or anyone else in Washington. It is shameful that the Trump-controlled South Carolina state party cancelled a primary in which Mark could have been a real factor.”