The South Carolina Democratic Party added its voice today to growing calls on Gov. Mark Sanford to resign today, citing Sanford's "stream of confessions" and "immoral and reprehensible behavior" as distractions from state business.
"State officials seem unable to do anything except worry and talk about Governor Sanford's extramarital affair, which we learn more about every few hours," party Chair Carol Fowler said in a statement. "South Carolina can't afford to be at a standstill for the next 18 months with a governor who ignores his job responsibilities while pursuing personal interests."
The SC Democratic Party had held off calling for Sanford to step down immediately after his admission, though numerous Democratic and Republican officials issued that call as more information has come out in his scandal--notably his admissionlast Thursday that he visited his mistress in Argentina on a taxpayer-funded trade mission last June. He said the excursion was for entirely professional purposes, other than the "mistake" of visiting the woman, but he pledged to pay back the cost of the trip, which was estimated at $12,000.
More recently, he admitted to having "crossed lines" with other women.
Last night, six Republican state senators issued a letter calling for Sanford's resignation, bringing the total number of GOP senators calling for Sanford's resignation to 12 of 27, according to one unconfirmed headcount, and at least 10 according to a news report published this morning. That includes Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, who spearheaded the letter last night. Other calls for resignation have come from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and six South Carolina newspapers.
It's more about the "abuse of power" than the personal indiscretion, according to one Democratic Party official. "It's not necessarily that we're having a problem with what's going on with him family wise, it's how what he's doing is effecting the state," the official said.
Here's the full statement from Fowler:
While I believe an investigation should still be done to determine the full extent of Mark Sanford's abuse of power, though his long stream of confessions he has already revealed enough immoral and reprehensible behavior to justify asking him to step done. State officials seem unable to do anything except worry and talk about Governor Sanford's extramarital affair, which we learn more about every few hours. Every day that is spent not focused on the issues that matter the most to our state, particularly jobs and education, is another day that our state suffers. Every day that members of the General Assembly spend talking about Sanford's state-funded romance is another day these Republican leaders aren't tackling the rising unemployment numbers or the plight of our public schools. South Carolina can't afford to be at a standstill for the next 18 months with a governor who ignores his job responsibilities while pursuing personal interests. Any other worker in South Carolina would be fired for not showing up at work with no notice.