Key Sanford allies now say he should remain in office

Mark Sanford’s quest to hold on to the governorship picked up more steam Friday when a pair of allies offered their support for him to remain in office.

State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, released a statement saying he had, on several occasions, asked Sanford to resign after Sanford acknowledged having an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. But Davis said the governor and his wife, Jenny Sanford, told him they could work on their marriage while he held on to his position.

“I am not going to second-guess them on that personal matter,” said Davis, whose continued support is seen as particularly important because he is Sanford’s former chief of staff and he and the governor have been friends for 30 years.

South Carolina Senators and Representatives return to the State House on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 to vote on Gov. Mark Sanford's vetoes.Here, Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) expresses his position on a proposed port in Jasper County.

Another Sanford ally, state Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, also offered his support Friday, arguing that a State Law Enforcement Division review of Sanford’s travel, which found the governor had not misused public money, shows “it is time to move forward.”

“I continue to support the decision of Governor Sanford to remain at his post, and I encourage the governor and the members of the General Assembly to return their focus to the urgent issues facing South Carolina,” Ryberg said.

Sanford’s spokesman, Joel Sawyer, said the governor has arrived in Florida, where he is spending the holiday weekend with his wife and her family.

Sawyer said the governor would have no public comment Friday.

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