House Speaker Bobby Harrell urged Gov. Mark Sanford to resign Tuesday, warning the state would become "bogged down" by the embattled governor's "distractions."
Harrell is one of the most powerful Republicans in the state, and joins a majority of Senate Republicans in calling for Sanford's resignation. Harrell had not yet publicly taken a stand on Sanford and had cooled House Republican Caucus efforts to ask Sanford to resign at a meeting last month.
House Republican leaders surveyed members over the last week and are expected to release a letter this week urging Sanford to resign.
"Far too much time is being occupied with daily questions related to the next 'Sanford issue,'" Harrell wrote in a letter to Sanford, "and is pushing aside the ability of our state to deal with the pressing issues it faces."
Harrell stopped short of discussing removing Sanford from office, saying that decision would be based on the results of an on-going State Ethics Commission investigation. But Harrell’s announcement will have no impact on lawmakers who believe Sanford abandoned his duties when he secretly left the state for five days in June to rendezvous with his Argentinean lover.
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