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Mark Sanford addresses a 2017 town hall meeting. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Editor's note: Sanford dropped out of contention for the Republican presidential nomination on Nov. 12th, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is one of three long-shot Republican challengers to President Trump. A longtime figure in Congress and state government, he is known as a budget hawk and fiscal reformer.

  • A frequent critic of Trump, he faults the president for steering the Republican Party away from traditional issues like the national debt and budget deficits.
Key facts:
  • Current position: N/A
  • Age: 59
  • Born: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Education: Furman University (BA), University of Virginia (MBA)
  • Date candidacy announced: Sept. 8, 2019
  • Previous roles: Representative for South Carolina’s 1st District (1995–2001; 2013–2019), U.S. Air Force Reserve (2003–2013), real estate broker, farmer
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 70.8%
Stances on key issues:
  • National debt and deficits: Government spending is Sanford's greatest concern. He strongly supports reducing the national debt and balancing the budget.
  • Climate change: Though Sanford joined other House Republicans in a call for action on climate change, he also voted against bills addressing the issue, including a carbon tax, fearing the cost of implementation if an economic slowdown were to occur.
  • Marijuana: Though Sanford has not publicly announced his support for legalized marijuana, he criticized the Trump administration in 2018 for threatening to prosecute marijuana businesses that operated in states where the substance has been legalized.
  • Immigration: Sanford holds traditional Republican views on immigration. He believes in a secure border and voted for penalizing sanctuary cities. However, he said does not support family separation at the southern border.
Key criticisms of Sanford:
  • Hiking trip: As the former governor, Sanford lied about his whereabouts for 6 days in 2009. Instead of hiking the Appalachian Trail as he claimed, he later admitted he was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, having an affair with a TV reporter.
  • Extreme frugality: Sanford has been criticized for taking thriftiness too far. As South Carolina's governor, he required his staff to use both sides of Post-it notes, and attempted to refuse $700 million in federal stimulus money in 2009.
  • Running in anger: Some Republicans claim Sanford is only running because of his animosity with Trump that came to a head in South Carolina's 2018 primary elections. The president supported Sanford's conservative challenger. Sanford lost, but insists a personal grudge is not driving his campaign.
1 fun thing:
  • As governor, Sanford held squealing, wriggling pigs under each arm outside the state house chamber to criticize lawmakers for including pork-barrel projects in South Carolina’s 2004 state budget.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.