Former U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) announced Tuesday that he is considering a 2020 presidential bid to primary President Donald Trump. Sanford told the Post and Courier, a Charleston newspaper, that he will be taking the next month to decide whether to launch a candidacy aimed at bringing awareness to the nation’s growing debt and deficit.
“I’m a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending, and financial matters,” Sanford said.
The former congressman’s announcement comes almost a year after the president promoted Sanford’s Republican primary challenger in 2018, Katie Arrington, in a relatively close race that ultimately ousted the incumbent representative. Arrington went on to lose the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
The 59-year-old former congressman also served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 prior to returning to Congress in 2013 following a closely watched special election. Before that, Sanford served as the state’s governor from 2003 to 2011, during which time details of an extra-marital affair surfaced. It garnered national media attention and allegedly involved secret taxpayer-funded overseas trips with an Argentine mistress.
Sanford faced impeachment proceedings in the state legislature for the affair, but the charges lobbied against him were ultimately dropped and Sanford served the rest of his term.
In Congress, Sanford was considered one of the most fiscally conservative members of the Republican caucus. While Sanford endorsed President Trump in the 2016 election, Sanford remained one of the president’s most vocal critics in the House.
If he were to enter the 2020 race for president, Sanford would be the second Republican candidate to enter the primary against Trump, joining former Massachusetts Republican governor and 2016 Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld.