Politics & Government

Push for South Carolina governor to resign growing

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The S.C. House overwhelmingly wants Gov. Mark Sanford to resign. House Democrats on Friday joined their Republican colleagues in asking Sanford to step down.

Last month, 61 of 72 House Republicans signed a letter asking Sanford to resign because South Carolinians had "suffered enough" as a result of the governor's secret five-day trip to Argentina, his admitted extramarital affair and the distraction it has become in S.C. politics.

On a voice vote described as "near unanimous" during a House Democratic Caucus meeting in Charleston, a similar motion requesting Sanford vacate his post was approved.

Previously, the General Assembly's two most powerful lawmakers, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, a Charleston Republican, and Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, had also asked the governor to resign. The state Republican Party approved a similar measure, asking Sanford to remove himself.

"The entire General Assembly, by virtue of the voting in caucus, has asked for the governor to resign," said Rep. Todd Rutherford, a Columbia Democrat. "But not only has the governor refused to do so, he has also backtracked on making the Ethics Commission proceedings public."

Sanford has refused to resign and is fighting efforts to remove him from office. How the calls for Sanford to resign will affect an expected bid in the General Assembly to impeach the governor is unclear. Two-thirds of lawmakers in the House and Senate would have to agree to remove the governor.

Sanford is the subject of an ongoing S.C. Ethics Commission investigation into his use of the state plane for reasons other than official business, his purchase of pricey airline tickets, and his failure to report private plane rides he accepted from friends and political allies.

Read the complete story at thestate.com