Are you ready for Congressman Mark Sanford?

He’s been thinking about some sort of political comeback since mid-2011 at least, which is no surprise from a guy who first ran for Congress in his early 30s. In fairness, he’s always been extremely good on government spending, something Washington needs now more than ever.

Anyone know of any other Congress-eligible Republicans in South Carolina who are extremely good on spending? Between DeMint and Tim Scott, I’m thinking … pretty much all of them are. Oh well:

Geraghty: How long have you been thinking about a return to politics?

Sanford: This came out of the blue, for all the obvious reasons. I thought my time in politics was over. That was a chapter of life, and I had moved on.

I’m not saying it was God-ordained or anything like that, but a series of rather miraculous events have coincided here, that did not escape the attention of the friends who were urging me to look at this.

Senators retire once every thousand years, and the governor appoints, lo and behold, the guy who held the seat and district that I used to represent years ago in Congress. Then the phone lines light up, and you start getting e-mails. That’s sort of normal if you’ve once been in one spot, but the duration and intensity is unusual.

I was coming out of my building I live in, and an old-timer stops me and grabs me, and says, “Mark, you’ve got to do that. You were a good congressman. You’ve got to run for Congress.” Then that night, I was going for a run, running through the streets of downtown Charleston at night, and somebody starts flashing his [car headlights] at me. I have no idea who it is, and then I see it’s a local city-council guy and he’s telling me, saying, “Mark, you gotta do this.” It became absurd. You have to listen.

He’s announcing his candidacy today. My memory of his demise as governor isn’t the affair itself but his bizarre willingness to ramble about it in interviews in the most effusive terms. Somehow he turned something that’s unfortunately almost mundane among politicians into a circus, even more so than worse offenders like David Vitter who decided to shut up about his failings after the obligatory press conference. The state House of Representatives ended up censuring him on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, mainly I think out of embarrassment. The question, I guess, is whether after all that Sanford will ever be taken fully seriously again as a legislator or if he’s doomed to “hiking the Appalachian Trail” jokes unto eternity. You tell me. One of the reddest states in the union doesn’t have any young political talent that can do better in this role?

According to one local Republican consultant, he’s the “clear favorite” in the election. Again, oh well.

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David Strom 3:31 PM on March 27, 2023