SC Power Broker: Mark Sanford


We have been meaning to write a piece looking at Governor Sanford and his potential impact on the GOP Presidential Primary and Hoover’s piece finally inspired us to give our $.02

Last week we decided to profile some of South Carolina’s biggest political players that have yet to get in the endorsement game and their potential impact on the race should they pick a horse.  We began with Congressman Jim Clyburn and today we are profiling Governor Mark Sanford.

Hoover comes across as very suspicious of the reasoning behind Sanford’s decision to refrain from entering the political frey.  After all, Sanford supported McCain in 2000 and nothing has really happened since that would lead anyone to believe that their relationship had gone south.  So is this just a clever ruse?

Well it may be, but we honestly believe the Governor really does have his eye on accomplishing something of significance during this legislative session.  He has not been able to score any major accomplishments and all politics aside, this guy really does believe in the proposals he has put forth.  So in the interest of advancing his agenda, it only makes sense for him to stay out of the game, for now. 

Realistically, it is very early and the Governor has to focus on the Legislature or he won’t get his agenda through.  Jumping into the Presidential race at this point may help the candidate, but would only serve as a reason for some legislators to oppose him and his legislative agenda.  The question is; why spend your political capital on someone else at this point and not yourself?  It wouldn’t make sense.  Not at this point.

In looking at a potential Sanford endorsement, it is safe to say that it would be a pretty coveted commodity.  Sanford is very popular (outside the bubble) and could help a presidential campaign take its message directly to the people.  We envision a trademark Sanford ad, complete with the Governor himself speaking directly to the voters as he is so good at doing.  This could be particularly effective at a time when/if the campaigns are getting particularly negative.  However, if he got in now, he is just a name on a list.  Only insiders and activists are watching.  His biggest bang lies outside that realm.

We expect that the nod will go to Senator McCain, but it is only reasonable to believe that it is way too early for the Governor to get in the game.  It wouldn’t have the maximum effect for the campaign, and it would certainly cost the Governor some points with the Legislature. 

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