Sanford: I Won't Resign

By Andy Barr and Jonathan Martin
|  Saturday, Jun 27, 2009  |  Updated 2:30 AM CDT
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Cheating Politicians

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he wants a political comeback like King David's.

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford signaled Friday that he intends to serve out the remaining 18 months of his term.

“I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in the Bible — who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand,” Sanford said in a statement following a meeting with his Cabinet. “By doing so, I will ultimately better serve in every area of my life, and I am committed to doing so.”

Asked by POLITICO if the statement indicated that Sanford would not resign, his spokesman, Joel Sawyer, e-mailed: “Correct.”

The Republican governor attempted to get back to the business of running South Carolina on Friday, two days after his admission of an affair with a woman from Argentina.

“More than anything, today was about letting my team in the Cabinet know how sorry I am for letting them down,” Sanford said. “But more importantly, today is a reminder that our work goes on. Each of our agency directors has a job to do in serving the people of South Carolina, and despite how I have disappointed them and the people of South Carolina collectively, we all have important roles to fill in this larger administration.”

According to a InsiderAdvantage poll conducted just hours after the governor’s emotional press conference on Wednesday, 50 percent of South Carolina registered voters wanted Sanford to resign while another 42 percent thought he should remain in office. Eight percent of those polled had no opinion.

A Rasmussen Reports survey of South Carolinians released Friday showed that 46 percent believe he should resign while only 39 percent said the governor should stay.

Sanford has been making calls around the state to apologize to lawmakers and top Republicans for having to admit to the affair and also apologized for his behavior during the meeting with his Cabinet.

“He’s back at work today, obviously spending some time touching base with legislators and other state leaders,” said Sawyer in an e-mail.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement Friday that he supports the governor’s decision to stay in office.

“I support Gov. Sanford’s decision to ‘refocus on the work at hand’ and his efforts to ‘rebuild the trust’ committed to him over the last 18 months of his term,” Graham said. “Second chances in life are not guaranteed or required. But if they are afforded, they can be a real blessing.”

A handful of current and former party officials have called on Sanford to resign, but one of the governor’s toughest critics, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, said Friday he would give Sanford “some space” to make his decision.

“Do not look to me to be engaging or joining in calls one way or the other as they relate to Gov. Sanford,” Bauer said in a statement.

Sanford’s wife, Jenny, offered similar sentiments when asked by reporters Friday if her husband should resign.

“I’m not gonna tell you all what we talked about,” she said. “He’s gonna have to worry about that, and I’m going to worry about my family and the character of my children.”

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