I'm a bit of a fan of Governor Sanford. He's like a cross between Fred Thompson and Ron Paul!
|Marshall Clement "Mark" Sanford, Jr. (born May 28, 1960) is an American Republican politician who has been Governor of South Carolina since 2003.|
* 1 Early life
* 2 Congress
* 3 Governor of South Carolina
o 3.1 First term
o 3.2 Reelection and second term
* 4 Potential 2008 candidate
* 5 Electoral history
* 6 References
* 7 External links
 Early life
Before his senior year of high school, Sanford moved with his family to a 3000 acre Coosaw Plantation near Beaufort, South Carolina from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he grew up. Sanford attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He received a bachelor's degree from Furman University and an MBA from Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Sanford moved to Sullivan's Island, South Carolina in the early 1990s with his wife Jenny and their four boys, Marshall, Landon, Bolton, and Blake.
In 1994, Sanford entered the Republican primary for the Charleston-based 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. The seat had come open after four-term incumbent Arthur Ravenel gave it up to make an unsuccessful run for governor. Despite having never run for office before, he finished second in a crowded primary behind Van Hipp, Jr, a former George H. W. Bush Administration official. Sanford defeated Hipp in the runoff, and breezed to victory in November. He was reelected twice, both times facing only minor-party opposition.
While in Congress, Sanford was a staunch conservative (he garnered a lifetime rating of 92 from the American Conservative Union), but displayed an occasional independent streak. He often would be one of two members of Congress, along with Ron Paul, voting against bills that otherwise got unanimous support. For example, he voted against a bill that preserved sites linked to the Underground Railroad. He opposed pork barrel projects even when they benefited his own district; in 1997 he voted against a defense appropriations bill that included funds for Charleston's harbor. Seeing himself as a "citizen-legislator," he did not run for reelection in 2000, in keeping with a promise to serve only three terms in the House.
Sanford was listed in the House roll as "R-Charleston," even though he lived on Sullivan's Island.
 Governor of South Carolina
 First term
He entered the gubernatorial election of 2002; he first defeated Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler in the Republican primary and then defeated the Democratic incumbent, Jim Hodges, in the general election, by a margin of 53% to 47% to become the 115th Governor of South Carolina. In accordance with South Carolina law, Sanford was elected separately from the state's Republican lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer.
Sanford has sometimes had a contentious relationship with the South Carolina General Assembly, even though it is controlled by his party. The Republican-led SC House of Representatives overrode 105 of Sanford's 106 budget vetoes on May 26, 2004. The following day, Sanford brought live pigs into the House chamber as a visual protest against "pork projects".
Sanford rejected the Assembly's entire budget on June 13, 2006. Had this veto stood, the state government would have shut down on July 1. The governor explained his veto as being the only way to get the cuts he desired, and that using the line item veto would have been inadequate as well as impossible. However, in a special session the following day, both houses dismissed Sanford's call for reform by overriding his veto — effectively restoring their original budget (which indeed contained many reforms Sanford had previously called for).
Sanford professes to be a firm supporter of limited government, and many pundits have described his views as being libertarian in nature. There are several Internet based groups trying to convince him to run for president in 2008. Most recently, he has embarked on an ambitious plan to reform methods of funding the state's public education system. This would include measures such as school vouchers — aimed at introducing more competition into the school system as a means of fostering improvement. This would also allow more choice for parents who wish for their children to be educated in a religious or independent setting easier access at doing so. The plan, known as "Put Parents In Charge," would provide around $2,500 per child to parents who chose to withdraw their children from the state's public school system and instead send them to religious and other independent schools. Sanford has framed this plan as a necessary market based reform.
Sanford has also sought to reform the state's public college system. Sanford has criticized these schools as focusing too much on separately creating research institutions and not on educating the young adults of South Carolina. Sanford has suggested that they combine some programs as a means of curbing tuition increases. The schools did not respond positively to this suggestion, however, causing Sanford to remark that "if any institution ultimately feels uncomfortable with our push toward coordination, they can exit the system and go private."
Sanford's tenure has not been free of controversy. He was criticized for missing a budget debate and was harshly criticized in a Greenville News article for delays in signing a piece of domestic violence legislation. A Time Magazine article critical of Sanford, cited that some "fear his thrift has brought the state's economy to a standstill."
Sanford's approval rating ranges from 47% to 55% over the past year according to Survey USA.
 Reelection and second term
His campaign for reelection in 2006 began by Sanford winning the June 13th Republican Primary over Oscar Lovelace, a family physician from Prosperity, with 65% of the vote to Lovelace's 35%. His Democratic competitor in the November elections was state senator Tommy Moore, who won the Democratic primary. Sanford won re-election, beating Democrat Tommy Moore by 55%-45%.
On election day, Sanford was not allowed to vote in his home precinct because he did not have his voter registration card. The governor was obliged to go to a voter registration office to get a new registration card. "I hope everybody else out there is as determined to vote as I was today," he said. Sanford's driver's license had a Columbia address, but Sanford was trying to vote at his home precinct in Sullivan's Island. According to NBC, Mark Sanford has declared that this will be his last campaign.
 Potential 2008 candidate
In 2006, before the midterm elections, some people were discussing the possibility of Sanford running for president. He said that he would not run, and claimed that his re-election bid would be his last election, win or lose. After Super Tuesday in 2008, Governor Sanford received some mention as a potential running mate for the then-presumptive Republican presidential candidate, John McCain.
Sanford publicly aligned himself with McCain in a March 15, 2008, piece in the Wall Street Journal. Likening the presidential race to a football game at halftime, Sanford noted that he "sat out the first half, not endorsing a candidate...But I'm now stepping onto the field and going to work to help John McCain. It's important that conservatives do the same."
On January 11, 2008, shortly before the South Carolina presidential primaries (R Jan 19, D Jan 26), Governor Sanford published a guest column in the Columbia newspaper The State.  In this article, Obama's Symbolism Here, Sanford states, "I won't be voting for Barack Obama for president," and notes the "historical burden" borne by South Carolinians on the topic of race. Then he advises voters in South Carolina, where "[w]ithin many of our own lifetimes, a man who looked like Barack Obama had a difficult time even using the public restrooms in our state," that "what is happening in the initial success of [Obama's] candidacy should not escape us." Governor Sanford concludes, "[A]s an early primary state we should earnestly shoulder our responsibility in determining how this part of history is ultimately written."
In a January 18, 2008 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Sanford discussed his Obama article. Wolf Blitzer asked, "Give us your mind-set. Why did you think it was so important to write this piece right now at this critical moment?" Governor Sanford responded, "Well, it plays into a larger conversation that we're having as a family of South Carolinians on, in fact, the [constitutional] structure of our government." Also, Wolf Blitzer showed Sanford clips of recent comments made by John McCain and Mike Huckabee about the Confederate flag and asked the Governor, "All right, two different positions, obviously. Who's right in this?" Sanford responded, "Well, it depends who you talk to." Sanford elaborated that "if you were to talk to the vast majority of South Carolinians, they would say that we do not need to be debating where the Confederate flag is or is not."