In an announcement made on Fox News Sunday, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford officially threw his hat into the presidential race. Sanford would be the third GOP candidate to attempt a long-shot bid for the party’s nomination, taking on incumbent Donald Trump.
He told Fox News that "I am here to tell you now that I am going to get in."
Sanford's announcement came one day after the GOP of South Carolina made the announcement that it would not be holding primaries in 2020, instead, they would be throwing their support behind President Trump. This means that Sanford would not have the opportunity to win his own home state.
The Republican party of South Carolina stated that the primaries were not necessary because President Trump had "no legitimate primary challenger." Other states are following South Carolina's lead, saying they would halt their own Republican caucus, including Kansas, Nevada, and Arizona.
Even though Sanford mulled over the prospect of making a presidential bid for weeks, he is first to acknowledge that the odds of him winning were very slim. In an interview with The Greenville News, Sanford stated his decision to enter the race was spurred on by his concerns surrounding the national debt—rather than what some are claiming is an attempt to settle a personal score.
He went on to say that “this isn’t about weakening the president or electing Democrats. In political movements, people circle the wagons. That’s never been my personal style of politics.”
Sanford lost his race in the District 1 congressional seat during the Republican primary in June of 2018, to challenger Katie Arrington. Then, in what was a surprise upset, Arrington was defeated in the general election Joe Cunningham, her Democratic challenger.
When it comes to the topic of Sanford's primary focus of his campaign for the Republican nominee, it all boils down to his contention that the Republicans have lost sight of the struggles of today. The most problematic, in his opinion, is that of the rising national debt. Sanford is of the idea that if left unchecked, the debt will lead to financial debt nationwide on the scale of the Great Depression.
Even though his attempt to unseat Trump is viewed as a significant uphill battle, the actual obstacle in Sanford's campaign may very well be his own shortcomings. His personal history of having shirked his governor duties to carry on an extramarital affair, which led to his 2009 impeachment, will surely be one of many queries that will be brought to his attention on the campaign trail.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Does Sanford genuinely stand a chance of winning the Republican party nomination for the 2020 presidential elections?