COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford rebuffed his lieutenant governor’s call to resign Wednesday, two months after he admitted an affair, saying he will not be “railroaded” out of office.
Sanford returned from a nearly weeklong disappearance in June to reveal he had been in Argentina to visit his mistress, a disclosure that led to questions about the legality of his travel on state, private and commercial planes.
At a news conference hours after fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer called for him to step down, Sanford said the people of South Carolina want to move past the scandals and that he will finish the last 16 months of his term.
“I’m not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks who were never fans of mine in the first place,” Sanford said. “A lot of what is going on now is pure politics, plain and simple.”
Bauer and Sanford have served two terms together but were elected separately and have never been friends.
Some Republicans have been reluctant to seek Sanford’s resignation or impeachment because they do not want to give Bauer what would amount to a long-term tryout for the job.
If Sanford steps down before his term ends in January 2011, Bauer said he will promise not to run in 2010.