Former Governor Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) has announced his candidacy for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2020, becoming the third major challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump.
Sanford declared his candidacy in a lengthy thread on Twitter, where he stated that he considers “our nation’s debt, deficits, and spending” to be a major issue, and also accused the president having “ruled out action on the very things that drive spending and accumulated debt.”
The former governor, who also served as a congressman, is the third major candidate to challenge President Trump from within his own party, after former Governor Bill Weld (R-Mass.) and former Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.).
Sanford first served as a congressman from South Carolina’s 1st congressional after being elected in 1994, going on to be re-elected three more times before deciding to run for governor in 2002. He unseated incumbent Democrat Jim Hodges and was re-elected in 2006.
In 2009, Sanford had an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman, which resulted in then-Governor Sanford being censured by the South Carolina legislature, and resigning as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
After completing his second term in 2011, Sanford ran for his old seat in Congress once again and won in a special election in 2013. But Sanford became an outspoken critic of President Trump in recent years, which led to the president endorsing Sanford’s primary challenger for his congressional seat in last year’s midterm cycle, Katie Arrington. Arrington managed to unseat Sanford, before ultimately losing the general election by a narrow margin.
In the weeks leading up to Sanford making his decision to run against President Trump, the president mocked the former governor and the other two challengers by calling them the “Three Stooges,” while also referring to Sanford as “Mr. Appalachian Trail.” This was in reference to Sanford’s affair, where he disappeared for a week in June of 2009 as he traveled to Argentina; while he was missing, one of his spokesmen claimed that the reason for his disappearance was that he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.”