Mark Sanford’s ex-wife: He asked me to manage his new campaign for Congress

posted at 10:41 am on March 4, 2013 by Allahpundit

When I saw this detail in yesterday’s LAT piece, I had to read it three times before feeling confident enough to post it as a Headline item. I was sure I had misunderstood and that the “she” referred to was someone else. This guy may be a shameless careerist, but asking the spouse you wronged to help get you back into Congress while you’re planning a wedding with the woman you left her for would take things to a Charlie-Crist-ian level of soulless ambition. “House of Cards” would reject it as a plotline on grounds that not even Frank Underwood would sink so low. (Well … no, he would. And Claire, unlike Jenny Sanford, would accept. And then she’d have a fleeting moment of humanity with a waitress or a homeless woman before shoving it out of her mind to concentrate on plotting to destroy people.)

New York magazine says it’s true:

When he first ran for Congress in 1994, he installed Jenny as his campaign manager. He did this for reasons of economy—“You’re free,” he told her at the time—but she proved a natural at the job. She blossomed into a shrewd political strategist, running Mark’s subsequent campaigns and becoming his top adviser. Will Folks, a former Sanford press secretary, says, “There’s absolutely no way he would have ever won the congressional seat or been governor without her.”

According to Jenny, she had already told Mark she would be taking a pass on the race the day before, at the funeral of a mutual friend. So when Mark came to visit her, he arrived with a proposal. “Since you’re not running, I want to know if you’ll run my campaign,” he said. “We could put the team back together.”

Jenny told him, in so many words, that wasn’t going to happen. Mark made one last appeal.

“I could pay you this time,” he said.

Later in the piece:

Although Mark explicitly sought and received all four of the boys’ permission—“I told them if they didn’t want me to do it, I wouldn’t do it,” he says—Jenny believes he’s put them in an impossible position. “Of course the boys would like to see their dad succeed at something he loves after all that’s gone on,” she told me. “Having said that, what mother in her right mind would ever want to watch her children see all of their father’s trash rehashed again?” Now that Mark is running, Jenny finds herself similarly boxed in. “She’s furious at him for doing this and she doesn’t want him to win, but he’s still the father of her children,” one of her friends says. “Does she want her sons to always think of her as the person who prevented their dad from getting back on his feet?”

Hard to be sure but it looks like both New York mag and the LAT found out about Mark’s job offer to her through Jenny herself or her inner circle, which I guess is her way of making life difficult for him without making it too difficult. Naturally, she doesn’t want to put her kids through hell by watching mom campaign publicly against dad. On the other hand, she knows how the public will react to hearing about the campaign offer. She’s not taking a side, just offering voters an extra little data point to inform their decision. Two powerful South Carolinians, Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney, have already endorsed one of Sanford’s opponents in the congressional special election. We’ll see if this shakes a few more loose.

Here’s the craziest thing about this, though, which New York picks up on: I think Sanford’s shamelessness is due less to reptilian calculation, a la Crist, than to a sort of startling obliviousness that’s unusual for a successful politician. One of the striking things about his meltdown in 2009 was how authentic it seemed. It was the opposite of damage control. Instead of issuing some pat statement about how he’d sinned and would no longer answer questions out of respect for his family’s privacy, he ended up blubbering to reporters about how his affair was actually “a love story.” I don’t think he fully realized how that looked and sounded, especially to his wife; his introspection actually contributed to the obliviousness. By the same token, I can sort of believe that he approached Jenny Sanford with the offer to manage his campaign without grasping how insulting it might be to her and how callous it might make him look to outsiders. If he had grasped it, he’d never have asked her: The downside risk of it being exposed and damaging him was greater than the upside chance of her saying yes, since he really doesn’t need her to win this seat. He can likely win it through name recognition alone. All he has to do is stay on her good side and not antagonize her into campaigning against him, but by approaching her with the offer, he probably made that slightly more likely than less. In the end, he’s more Peter Russo than Frank Underwood.


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She already said no. When does this cross into rape rape territory!?!

astonerii on March 4, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Mark Sanford’s ex-wife: He asked me to manage his new campaign for Congress

AAAAWWWWWW.

ToddPA on March 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

She will be a good manager, alright. But what if she runs off to Argentina in the middle of a campaign season?

Archivarix on March 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

That takes some stones, you gotta admit.

changer1701 on March 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Good Lord. What an insufferable excuse for a man he is. No character or scruples whatsoever. He’ll probably win with no problem at all, with or without her.

scalleywag on March 4, 2013 at 10:52 AM

The words “creepy dude” do not even begin to describe this guy.

jake-the-goose on March 4, 2013 at 10:52 AM

That takes some stones, you gotta admit.

changer1701 on March 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I think the word you are looking for is Narcissism or maybe sociopathy.

astonerii on March 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM

So this guy is a clueless narcissist.

He’ll fit right in in Congress.

Bitter Clinger on March 4, 2013 at 10:54 AM

That takes some stones, you gotta admit.

changer1701 on March 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

…in his case…peebles!

KOOLAID2 on March 4, 2013 at 10:54 AM

While this is perfectly believable, I’m leery of any article that quotes a scumbag like Will Folks as a source.

BuzzCrutcher on March 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM

You know, this gets at the REAL problem with Mark Sanford: it’s not even that he’s a liar and an adulterer, it’s that he’s also probably at least slightly mentally unbalanced.

But hey, Erick Erickson says he’s the Conservative Choice™ in this election so that’s enough for me!

Esoteric on March 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Please SC, make this man go away…

alwaysfiredup on March 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

By the same token, I can sort of believe that he approached Jenny Sanford with the offer to manage his campaign without grasping how insulting it might be to her and how callous it might make him look to outsiders.

Outsiders meaning every one else in the world except him?

DaveDief on March 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

The bigger disturbing thing is that he’s running for Congress again.

22044 on March 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

But hey, Erick Erickson says he’s the Conservative Choice™ in this election so that’s enough for me!

Esoteric on March 4, 2013

I said some time ago that I’m tired of people taking Erickson seriously. Apparently, he’s grown tired of it too.

BuzzCrutcher on March 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Seriously, how could you NOT KNOW how insulting that would be to your ex-wife? We sure could use someone that clueless to represent SC in Congress, right? It makes me want to run out and beg her to run and I don’t even live in that state.

scalleywag on March 4, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Keeping abusing that chicken, folks. A Democrat can screw a screaming underage boy in the middle of the National Mall while mainlining a heroin syringe and reading his indictment for murder, and his constituents will dutifully vote him back into office. It’s nice to be the party of principles, isn’t it? We have, after all, nine young, immortal conservative justices on the SCOTUS… right?

Archivarix on March 4, 2013 at 10:59 AM

I think Sanford’s shamelessness is due less to reptilian calculation, a la Crist, than to a sort of startling obliviousness that’s unusual for a successful politician.

In one sense it would have been a brilliant coup. How best to get beyond the affair than being able to point out that the wronged woman so believes in his candidacy she is running his campaign.

I’ve never been able to figure out why people in high office and the public eye think they can get away with affairs, kickbacks, or whatever. A large part is a staff willing to lie for them but IMO it is less obliviousness than it is arrogance.

Happy Nomad on March 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

F*** Mark Sanford let’s go with Karl Rove’s and the Establishment Ayatollah’s pick. Hey they haven’t let us down so far!

/S

HondaV65 on March 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

These dirtbags never give up . . . they have no shame, character or honor.

rplat on March 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

That takes some stones, you gotta admit.

changer1701 on March 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

What I was thinking. Couple of bowling balls down there.

msupertas on March 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

The guy’s living in an alternate universe. Let him run for election in that one, not this one.

Dusty on March 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM

F*** Mark Sanford let’s go with Karl Rove’s and the Establishment Ayatollah’s pick. Hey they haven’t let us down so far!

/S

HondaV65 on March 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Right. So if you don’t like the guy for how he’s conducted his personal life, or abused state funds, then you’re obviously just in bed with Rove and Co. Got it.

changer1701 on March 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

First-

Define “care.”
Define “help.”
Define “outreach.”

Then maybe we can talk. Maybe.

Bat Chain Puller on March 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I don’t care how conservative politically Mark Sanford is. I just want this POS to go away. Go Teddy Turner!!!

bw222 on March 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

I really wish we could reintroduce shaming people an acceptable social response.

Think of the problems we could solve.

Washington Nearsider on March 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

That man has real black moxy to ask his ex-wife to help him get elected to office again.

BigGator5 on March 4, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I said some time ago that I’m tired of people taking Erickson seriously. Apparently, he’s grown tired of it too.

BuzzCrutcher on March 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

+ 100

bw222 on March 4, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Moral Principles in a candidate is so…ummmm…square or something.

workingclass artist on March 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Nero fiddled while Rome Burned.

Allahpundit snickers, giggles and becomes obsessed with stupid and irrelevant subjects and posts like this one.

Nero added more value to the discussion of things.

williamg on March 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

If I were Jenny, I couldn’t think of a snarkier way to torpedo Mark. Well done, Jenny — well done.

unclesmrgol on March 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

“but IMO it is less obliviousness than it is arrogance.”

[Happy Nomad on March 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM]

Yeah, they think they are indispensable.

I suppose in some small way they are, as a class, when you think about it. Consider that there are, at least, 20,000 people in SC who are just capable as Sanford in doing the job of Senator, yet there are only about 5 to 10 who would ever consider taking on the job because of the extraneous tasks of getting the job.

Dusty on March 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I don’t know who any of those people you are talking about, other than the Sanfords, but does he seem to have the emotional and intellectual minimums needed to navigate D.C.? He’s like a rube in town with the egg money. I hope that reference is just as big a mystery to Allah as his were to me.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM

I think the word you are looking for is Narcissism or maybe sociopathy.

astonerii on March 4, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Yep. Clinical lack of empathy. Apparently no conscience, character, or discernment, either.

You have to be a special kind of moron to a)know that you owed your previous success to the shrewd campaign management of your wife b)know that she does not want you to run again and yet c) not know that she will work to oppose your campaign. In clever ways. Like leaking the news that you’re the sort of stupendous douchebag who would ask your jilted wife to run your campaign–with the ace in your sleeve being that you would, uh, …pay her this time.

TexasDan on March 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

If I were Jenny, I couldn’t think of a snarkier way to torpedo Mark. Well done, Jenny — well done.

unclesmrgol on March 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Yeah – THIS is the one key ingredient that’s been missing to stop the loss of Trillions of Tax Dollars and Overtaxing and the Loss of Millions of Jobs:

Snark

….yeah, THAT’s what we need more of to get on The Right Path!

williamg on March 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

HondaV65 on March 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Hey, I bet if Mrs. Sanford had agreed to be campaign manager, Rove would have signed on as a supporter.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

williamg on March 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Comments on “Nero fiddling while Rome burns” are?

unclesmrgol on March 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

williamg on March 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

No, that’s not the point. It’s snark and political savvy done well and it makes a difference.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

williamg on March 4, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Thank you for your completely on topic and incisive comment.

Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time. Oh, this is the second time. Oh well….

unclesmrgol on March 4, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The stones he’s sportin’ are only outdone by the ones between his ears!

can_con on March 4, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Jenny told him, in so many words, that wasn’t going to happen. Mark made one last appeal.

“I could pay you this time,” he said.

Good gracious, the man redefines oblivious. Seriously? That has to be one THE WORST lines uttered by a politician, let alone the ex-husband. Un. Believable.

“House of Cards” would reject it as a plotline on grounds that not even Frank Underwood would sink so low.

Nice reference to HOC, AP. That show is must-see for every political junkie.

In the end, he’s more Peter Russo than Frank Underwood.

Sanford could be a hybrid of the two–FU only for thinking Jenny would do this, but in the end Russo for its execution.

a side note–are you really thinking Jenny Sanford fits “Claire”? Claire would never show emotion or cry in public. Ever. I believe JS has had those emotional public moments. Nonetheless, the payback to the cavorting ex is probably sweet for Jenny.

conservative pilgrim on March 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Surely there is a more competent conservative available?

alwaysfiredup on March 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

People are still quoting Will Folks? That’s hilarious!

dczombie on March 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Maybe badmouthing her infamous ex publicly will make her feel better. Somehow, I doubt it.

Christien on March 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Here’s the craziest thing about this, though, which New York picks up on: I think Sanford’s shamelessness is due less to reptilian calculation, a la Crist, than to a sort of startling obliviousness that’s unusual for a successful politician.

Been saying this since he tried to cover up his infidelity with a preposterous, easily disprovable lie.

At some level, this guy is deeply disconnected from reality.

novaculus on March 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

What the…?! SERIOUSLY?! Sanford, not only are your morals & ethics ‘jacked up’…not only are you an incredible hypocrite….YOU ARE JUST PLAIN STUPID, TOO! Do me/us a favor & just GO AWAY! (By the way, Heritage Foundetion, is it, that just hired Sanford? By doing so I have lost an unbelieveable amount of trust & respect for you!)

easyt65 on March 4, 2013 at 12:29 PM

I wonder if he could be convinced that the Dems are really his moral and spiritual soulmates? I know I am convinced of it beyond a doubt. Hey – Crist / Sandford 2016!

drunyan8315 on March 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

People are still quoting Will Folks? That’s hilarious!

dczombie on March 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Doesn’t he have to pimp more fake affairs?

Been saying this since he tried to cover up his infidelity with a preposterous, easily disprovable lie.

At some level, this guy is deeply disconnected from reality.

novaculus on March 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Yeah.. Here is a guy who thought that he could skip town and go see his mistress in South America while he was the Governor of South Carolina and that no one would notice that he was missing. The fact that he didn’t realize that a U.S. governor disappearing might make national news is really dense. And this guy wanted to be President. How was he going to keep up this charade without out the press finding out? Was he going to skip out of the White House and fly commercial to Buenos Aires on a regular basis?

Illinidiva on March 4, 2013 at 12:33 PM

What the…?! SERIOUSLY?! Sanford, not only are your morals & ethics ‘jacked up’…not only are you an incredible hypocrite….YOU ARE JUST PLAIN STUPID, TOO! Do me/us a favor & just GO AWAY! (By the way, Heritage Foundetion, is it, that just hired Sanford? By doing so I have lost an unbelieveable amount of trust & respect for you!)

easyt65 on March 4, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Re the Heritage Foundation, you’re probably thinking of Jim Demint – huge difference.

22044 on March 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

one of her friends says. “Does she want her sons to always think of her as the person who prevented their dad from getting back on his feet?”

Is she really planning on hiding her sons in a monastery somewhere? Or dis she planning on raising men who think it’s acceptable for a father/husband to cheat, lie and deceive not only his wife, his children but the voting public who elected him and paid his salary? Thinking him “getting back on his feet” is in anyway her responsibility sounds like her friend wants her to become an enabler.

katiejane on March 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

a side note–are you really thinking Jenny Sanford fits “Claire”? Claire would never show emotion or cry in public. Ever. I believe JS has had those emotional public moments. Nonetheless, the payback to the cavorting ex is probably sweet for Jenny.

conservative pilgrim on March 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

My favorite Jenny Sanford moment was when she called the press up and publicly moved out on him.

Illinidiva on March 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Christien on March 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I appreciate her candor, I’m not sure this guy should be out and about without a keeper let alone making policy and spending money for the country. He has zero moral compass and doesn’t seem to even know it.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

My favorite Jenny Sanford moment was when she called the press up and publicly moved out on him.

Illinidiva on March 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Yeah, she showed serious courage and fortitude during the unveiling of Mr. Appalachian Trail. I’m thinking more of her autobiography where she revealed more “emotion,” for lack of a better word.

conservative pilgrim on March 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

No kidding. Still, I find it hard to believe she’s revisiting publicly her public humiliation as a service to the public. IMO, she only wants to hurt the guy back for scorning her.

Real classy of them both talking biz at a friend’s funeral…but then again maybe it’s what s/he would’ve wanted. Kinda tacky, IMO.

Christien on March 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Christien on March 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I see it differently. I am so glad she didn’t stand by him and bat her eyes at the news conference when he got caught originally. I don’t look at this as being or not being classy but a heads up to the people he wants to vote for him as to who he really is. The public has a right to know who this guy is.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Peter Russo and Frank Underwood? I find it comforting that I have no idea who they are!

tomshup on March 4, 2013 at 3:42 PM

The sleaze factor with this guy is off the charts. Pathetic.

francesca on March 4, 2013 at 4:21 PM

When you’re in the position of having to seek forgiveness from someone you truly care about, there comes a time when you want it for them as much as yourself. Bitterness and resentment are no way to go through life regardless of the circumstances. I’m sure Mark Sanford regrets the impact this has had on his ex-wife and I have no doubt he still cares deeply for her. I don’t blame Jenny for how she’s dealing with this and I also respect Sanford for trying to make the most of a difficult situation regardless of what anyone else says. I hope he wins!

mike_NC9 on March 4, 2013 at 5:24 PM

I’m sure she turned him down faster than the meteor that flew over Russia last month. Her kids aren’t worried that she isn’t helping good old dad out, they’re probably worried that their friends will diss them on FB if he runs and wins. Did he invite her to the wedding, too? What a putz.

Kissmygrits on March 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Once again we see AP’s unhealthy obsession with Mark Sanford’s personal life. Seriously?…comparing one of the best examples of fiscally conservatism with the worm Crist, while simultaneously sneaking in a potshot at Christians is poor form indeed.

But then again, it got a response out of me.

MechEng5by5 on March 4, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Once again we see AP’s unhealthy obsession with Mark Sanford’s personal life. Seriously?…comparing one of the best examples of fiscally conservatism with the worm Crist, while simultaneously sneaking in a potshot at Christians is poor form indeed.

MechEng5by5 on March 4, 2013

You’re right, Sanford is a fiscal conserrvative. He’s also a political pariah, at best, and at worst a despicable human being. You do realize that large segments of the population take factors other than ideology into consideration, don’t you? Maybe not hard-core leftists but those in the middle and most conservatives. If Sanford somehow won the primary, he’s the only republican who could actually lose that district. If he won the primary and general, he’d be an albatross around the necks of both the state and notional republican parties. Thank God there’s a runoff so we won’t get stuck with this nut job. He may finish in the top two to make the runoff but he’ll lose that by 30-50 points.

BuzzCrutcher on March 4, 2013 at 10:32 PM

BuzzCrutcher on March 4, 2013 at 10:32 PM

America, the land of second chances…

MechEng5by5 on March 5, 2013 at 12:31 AM

America, the land of second chances…

MechEng5by5 on March 5, 2013

Has he shown the slightest bit of remorse for what he put his wife and his kids through? For lying to the people that elected him? For leaving his job to go “hiking” (in Argentina) and not leaving any way for someone to get in touch with him? I realize being governor isn’t like being President but it is a pretty big responsibility. I don’t think you give a second chance to someone who either doesn’t understand or won’t admit how badly he screwed up his first chance.

BuzzCrutcher on March 5, 2013 at 12:56 AM

BuzzCrutcher on March 5, 2013 at 12:56 AM

Yes he has, and if was so bad why has she “put herself through it” even more by posing in Vogue among other public exposures?

Yes he did and yes he did.

You’re right, it’s not the Presidency and remember, he had a hostile Lt. Gov in Andre Bauer ripe and ready to exploit and exaggerate the situation.

Lastly, he’s running for the House, not executive office. He can go do what he showed he was good at and not be in danger of repeating the same mistake (not that I believe he ever would).

For your ref::
http://news.yahoo.com/stop-feeling-bad-jenny-sanford-144822355.html

MechEng5by5 on March 5, 2013 at 4:06 PM