Two years ago, at this time, soon after the 2008 elections, Mark Sanford was prominently mentioned as a potential Republican presidential nominee. Then, in June of 2009, Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, told his wife, family, and political staff that he planned to hike part of the Appalachian Trail. However, as we know, he somehow got diverted and ended up exercising in Argentina with Maria Belen Chapur instead. He held a press conference that will be long-remembered as an exercise in political suicide, where he discussed not merely his ongoing relationship with Chapur, he admitted to other ‘flirtations’ and would not state that the relationship had ended. A video of the press conference follows.
His personal life suffered ramifications as his wife Jenny eventually dumped him. He faced political consequences as well. Political chatter naming him as a national force stopped immediately, other than some pretty funny jokes. He faced ethics charges questioning how the intercontinental excursions were paid for, what was accomplished during the trips, and whether these accomplishments counted as official state business.
Well, a long time has passed now. We find that Sanford has recovered a great deal, at least politically. South Carolina announced that the governor would not face any ethics charges. He has successfully brought a number of jobs to the state, including a huge Boeing plant. The people in South Carolina have forgiven him for his indiscretions, giving him higher approval ratings than those of Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator from the state. Now, he is considering a run for office as his term as governor comes to an end. Just as an aside, I can’t think of more fun than a primary where Sanford faced his ex-wife. As a policeman friend once told me, the worst call was a domestic disturbance, because they’ll both go crazy at the same time. Just think about how much fun it would be at a debate where Jenny shows up with the kids in one section of the audience, while Mark brings Chapur on stage after the event to introduce the two ladies to each other.