Marshall Clement "Mark" Sanford Jr. (born May 28, 1960) is an American politician from South Carolina, currently serving as the Governor of South Carolina. A member of the Republican Party, he served from 1995 to 2001 as Congressman in the United States House of Representatives for South Carolina's 1st congressional district, where he held conservative positions. In 2002, he was elected the 115th Governor of South Carolina, defeating Democratic incumbent Jim Hodges, and was reelected in 2006. As governor, he has a contentious relationship with the South Carolina legislature: notably, he made public statements that he would reject stimulus funds for his state from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Following a subsequent battle in the South Carolina Supreme Court, he was forced to accept the funds. On June 24, 2009, Sanford resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, after he publicly revealed that he had an affair with María Belén Chapur, an Argentine woman. He was later censured over the affair because of misuse of state travel funds. Sanford is also a real estate developer and a medical administration officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr. was born on May 28, 1960, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, son of Marshall Clement Sanford, Sr., a cardiologist, and his wife, the former Peggy Pitts. Before his senior year of high school, Sanford moved with his family from Fort Lauderdale to the 3,000 acre (1,214 hectare) Coosaw Plantation near Beaufort, South Carolina.
Sanford attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of Troop 509 of the South Florida Council of the BSA chartered by St Martins in the Fields Church of Pompano Beach, Florida. Prior to moving to South Carolina he lived in an ocean front home on the barrier island of Lighthouse Point, Florida. He also spent time at his parents 40-acre (160,000 m2) cattle ranch in Delray Beach, Florida. He has a younger brother, William, a.k.a. "Billy". He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from Furman University in 1983 and a Master of Business Administration degree from Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia in 1988. After graduating from Furman University his first job was as an associate for Coldwell Banker in 1983. Then he worked as a project supervisor for Beachside Real Estate at the Isle of Palms, with Pat McKinney and Frank Brumley between 1984–1986. In 1987 while working towards his MBA he was trained at Goldman Sachs. After graduating with his MBA he took a position as a financial analyst with Chemical Realty Corporation (1988–1990). At the end of 1990 he moved back to Charleston, South Carolina and worked as a real estate broker on Daniel Island for Brumley Company (1990–1991). Sanford founded Norton and Sanford Real Estate Investment, a leasing and brokerage company, in 1992. He still owns the company. In the early 1990s he moved to Sullivan's Island, a wealthy island suburb off Charleston, with his then-wife Jenny, and their four boys, Marshall, Landon, Bolton, and Blake.
In 1994, Sanford entered the Republican primary for the Charleston-based 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. The seat had come open after Republican four-term incumbent Arthur Ravenel gave it up to make an unsuccessful run for governor. Despite having never run for office before, Sanford finished second in a crowded primary behind Van Hipp, Jr, a former George H.
W. Bush administration official. Sanford defeated Hipp in the runoff, and easily won the November general election. He was reelected twice, both times facing only minor-party opposition.
Governor of South California
Stanford entered the gubernatorial election of 2002. He first defeated Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler in the Republican primary and then defeated the Democratic incumbent, Jim Hodges, in the general election, by a margin of 53% to 47% to become the 115th Governor of South Carolina. In accordance with South Carolina law, Sanford was elected separately from the state's Republican lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer. Sanford and Bauer's wins gave the Republicans full control of state government for the first time since Reconstruction. In 2003, just after becoming governor, Sanford joined the Air Force Reserve and attended two week’s training in Alabama with his unit, the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. While in training, Sanford did not transfer power to Bauer, saying he would be in regular contact with his office, and would transfer authority in writing only if he were called to active duty.
Possible 2012 candidacy
As early as January 2008, there had been anticipation that Mark Sanford would run for President in 2012, and online support groups have sprung up on virtual social networks like Facebook in support of a Sanford ticket. Further boosting Sanford's profile in advance of a potential candidacy, which the governor has neither ruled out nor expressly hinted at,he was elected as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in November 2008 and was cited by Michael S. Steele, the Chairman of the Republican Party as one of four "rising stars" in the GOP (alongside Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Sarah Palin of Alaska) in February 2009. Sanford also received early support for a presidential run from the Republican Liberty Caucus. On February 22, 2009, Governor Sanford declined to rule out a possible presidential bid in 2012, though he professed to have no current plans to run for national office. Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza says that revelations of an extramarital affair in June 2009 ended Sanford's chances of being a serious candidate in 2012. On January 4, 2010, Governor Sanford admitted that, "If there's anything that's abundantly clear, it's that I ain't running for president." In the same Republican meeting, he also indicated that he would enter the private sector after his last 11 months as Governor.