Mark Sanford, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, will travel to New Hampshire for private meetings as he considers a run for president.
According to the Associated Press, Sanford will meet with Fergus Cullen and Tom Rath, both prominent Republicans in New Hampshire politics. Sanford’s trip north comes almost a month after he told The Post and Courier that he was considering a presidential run in order to bring attention to fiscal issues.
“I’m a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters,” Sanford told The Post and Courier.
A long-time public figure, Sanford became the focus of national attention in 2009 when he disappeared for nearly a week without telling his wife. Upon re-appearing, Sanford admitted that he had used taxpayer money to visit his mistress in Argentina, according to The New York Times.
Sanford’s office told the New York Times in an email that the purpose of the trip was professional, but that he also “made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful to my wife with.”
In March of 2010, the Associated Press reported that Sanford “agreed to pay $74,000 to settle charges that his travel and campaign spending violated state ethics laws.” Not all of these charges were related to the trip to Argentina.
Sanford also served in the U.S. House of Representatives, but was defeated by Katie Arrington in a primary challenge last year. Arrington then went on to lose the general election to Democratic candidate Joe Cunningham.
At a press conference after the election, Arrington told ABC 4 News that Sanford was partially to blame for her loss.
“We lost because Mark Sanford could not understand that this was about the conservative movement and not him,” said Arrington.
Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts and the 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, remains the only other candidate challenging Trump in the Republican primary at this time. But Weld’s campaign has failed to gain any significant traction in New Hampshire, and he is polling at only 7 percent against Trump, a ten percent decline since April.
“It’s just going to be a joke,” said a man who attended a Weld 2020 campaign event in June, according to the Associated Press. “He’s not going anyplace.”
As reported by US News, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel publicly cautioned potential challengers against primarying President Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year. “They will lose horribly,” said McDaniel.