South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford, a potential presidential candidate for 2012, left his post to take some time off to go hiking and write – without having to be bothered by his children, reported POLITICO.
Or, at least that’s what he told his staff.
While it is not uncommon for state officials to take vacations, it was the way in which Gov. Sanford chose to do so that has his opponents aggressively attacking his future political ambitions.
Local reporters began making calls to follow up on reports of the governor’s disappearance, but only one state official, state Senator Jake Knotts, would go on record. Senator Knotts has been a longtime critic of Gov. Sanford.
“State authorities informed The State newspaper that Sanford’s last known location was somewhere near Atlanta, where the governor’s cell phone signal was picked up by a local cell phone tower,” reported POLITICO.
Gov. Sanford, in an interview Wednesday with The State newspaper, said that he told his staff that he might go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
Apparently, in a last minute decision, Gov. Sanford decided to take an excursion to Buenos Aires, Argentina, reported USA Today.
Gov. Sanford’s opponents dashed to the press in efforts to eliminate him from the political sphere. Senator Knotts made a destructive, but logical, attack against Gov. Sanford.
“I want to know immediately who is running the executive branch in the governor’s absence,” Senator Knotts said to The State.
“As the head of our state, in the unfortunate event of a state of emergency or homeland security situation, Gov. Sanford should be at all times to the chief of [the state police force].”
The Chicago Tribune reported that Michigan’s governor, Jennifer Granholm, was concerned about Gov. Sanford’s decision to not alert his staff of his whereabouts. Gov. Granholm said to MSNBC that a governor must “make sure that the line of authority is established when [a governor] leave[s] the state.”
While many of Gov. Sanford’s allies are standing idly by, State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom released a statement, reported by POLITICO, which said, “…Some are using this opportunity to try to cast the governor in the most unflattering light possible.
“Rather than doing all they can to damage the reputation of someone of an opposing viewpoint for purely political purposes, everyone should commit to a more civil, issues-oriented discourse more befitting the people of this great state.”