Politics & Government

Is Mark Sanford crazy? Some in S. Carolina now wonder

Gov. Sanford returns from Argentina on Tuesday, June 23.
Gov. Sanford returns from Argentina on Tuesday, June 23. Gina Smith/The State/MCT

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Mark Sanford is acting like a love-struck teenager.

Or, maybe he has a deeper personality disorder, some experts speculate.

As the saga of Sanford and his Argentine lover continues, the public, the governor’s political rivals and some allies are speculating about the governor’s mental stability and whether he’s able to lead the state.

While mental health experts are reluctant to pin a diagnosis on the governor, their observations of his behavior suggest a chemical imbalance, narcissism and impulsive behavior.

Sanford has not sought professional mental health treatment, said Joel Sawyer, the governor’s spokesman.

But some fellow politicians are saying the governor needs help.

“That’s a troubled man,” said Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, a longtime Sanford ally who this year became frustrated at Sanford’s refusal to take federal stimulus money. “You can see it in his eyes and his body language. I’m concerned about his mental well-being.”

John Crangle, executive director of Common Cause South Carolina, called Sanford “delusional” and said it was obvious the governor has “serious mental problems.”

“The idea that he could carry on this relationship and at the same time be governor, run the Republican governor’s association and have presidential aspirations, it shows an individual who has lost contact with reality,” said Crangle, who has worked as a divorce lawyer. “He sees no limitations. He can do what he wants.”

One prominent Republican who is close to Sanford and has been in regular contact with him also has questioned the governor’s well-being. “When your support is evaporating but your resolve (to stay in office) is increasing, that’s a bad combination,” said the source, who did not want to be identified.

Peeler cites the governor’s mental state as one more reason he should resign. Crangle said Sanford should at least take a leave of absence and get a psychiatric evaluation.

The state Constitution has measures for removing a mentally unstable governor, but that’s not likely to happen in this case, observers said.

Still, people are talking.

Read the full story at thestate.com

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