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Mark Sanford        

Former 2020 Republican Presidential Candidate; Former Governor of South Carolina; Former U.S. Representative

Marshall Clement "Mark" Sanford Jr. is an American politician of the Republican Party who served as a U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 1st congressional district from 1995 to 2001, and 2013 to 2019. Sanford won the 2002 South Carolina gubernatorial election, wherein he defeated the Democratic incumbent Jim Hodges. He was re-elected in the 2006 South Carolina gubernatorial election, and consequently served as Governor of South Carolina from 2003 until 2011. In early September 2019, Sanford announced that he would be a candidate for the Republican Party nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election.

While governor of South Carolina, Sanford sometimes had a contentious relationship with the SC legislators. For example, he unsuccessfully and unpopularly attempted to reject $700 million in stimulus funds for South Carolina from the 2009 Recovery Act passed by the U.S. Congress. Ultimately, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that only the state legislature - and not the governor - had the authority to accept or decline the stimulus funds from the federal government.

In June 2009, after an unexplained disappearance that made national headlines, the governor revealed publicly that he had engaged in an affair with María Belén Chapur. While the scandal led to his censure by the South Carolina General Assembly and his resignation as chair of the Republican Governors Association, he did complete his second term as governor. After leaving as governor, Sanford ran again for the U.S. House, and - as a result - served in Congress from 2013 to 2019. He lost his 2018 re-election bid in a Republican primary.

In September 2019, Sanford announced that he would be a candidate for the Republican Party's nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election. However, he dropped out of the race on November 12, 2019. After just two months of campaigning, Sanford stated that his bid had been “a long shot, but we wanted to try and interject this issue, how much we’re spending, into the national debate, which comes along once every four years.”

Sanford is currently a teaching fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. In 2000, Sanford published his first book, The Trust Committed To Me, which discusses term limits and features a foreword by Robert Novak.

He graduated from Furman University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business. He later received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.


Mark Sanford Ends His Primary Challenge Against President Trump ...

Mark Sanford speaks during a news conference in front of the Statehouse on Tuesday in Concord, N.H., where he announced he is ending his long-shot 2020  ...

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