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S.C. Governor Faces Growing Calls For Resignation
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S.C. Governor Faces Growing Calls For Resignation

Politics

S.C. Governor Faces Growing Calls For Resignation

S.C. Governor Faces Growing Calls For Resignation
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Gov. Mark Sanford i

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has rejected calls for his resignation. Mary Ann Chastain/AP hide caption

toggle caption Mary Ann Chastain/AP
Gov. Mark Sanford

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has rejected calls for his resignation.

Mary Ann Chastain/AP

This week, South Carolina's lieutenant governor urged Gov. Mark Sanford to step down — two months after the Republican admitted, in sometimes excruciating detail, to his affair with an Argentine woman.

The focus has shifted, though, from the steamy details of Sanford's love affair to other possible missteps he may have made. A team of reporters at The State newspaper in Columbia is working through a pile of public-records requests regarding the governor.

Media Coverage

"We got a book of them," says Leroy Chapman, government and politics editor for The State. "They're about travel expenses and about e-mail correspondences, to make sure the public record is matching up to what they say."

The newspaper broke the news of Sanford's affair. The Associated Press and other media are also investigating, and the latest reports suggest Sanford may have violated state laws or ethics rules in his travels. Sanford calls the charges sensational and complains that his record is being taken out of context.

"We have an incredible record when it comes to watching out for the taxpayer," he said.

Calls For Resignation

Nevertheless, Sanford's opponents have used the latest allegations to revive calls for his resignation. In news conference Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer became the highest-ranking Republican state official to join the chorus.

"The serious misconduct that's already been revealed, along with lingering questions and continuing distractions, make it virtually impossible to solve the critical problems we're facing without a change in leadership," Bauer said.

Sanford had a news conference three hours later to insist again that he is staying in office. Bauer said Thursday, however, that it is not up to Sanford alone.

"I hope the governor will reconsider and he won't drag our state through impeachment proceedings because ... they're going to happen," he said.

Political Future

Bauer says many lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature are waiting until they convene in January to start pushing impeachment, because it will be a convenient platform for midterm elections. Sanford says he won't let his political opponents railroad him out of office, but there is a growing sense that calls for his resignation are not personal.

"All of us just want the situation to go away," says Democratic state Rep. Todd Rutherford, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which would likely handle impeachment proceedings. "In South Carolina, we simply want to start looking good in the national press and on the national scene, and he simply drags us back down into the mud, so that's what people are tired of."

Sanford's political future may hinge on what the state's House Republicans decide this weekend at their annual retreat to discuss strategy for the coming year.

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