Outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford said he had done little planning for the next chapter of his life, after the Governor’s Mansion, saying he works better if he focuses on the task at hand, which — for the next month — is finishing his second term.
Despite admitting to an extra-marital affair with Maria Belen Chapur and escaping impeachment, Sanford did not rule out another run for office. But he says that is not likely. State residents, he said, are forgiving and will remember him for more than his secret five-day trip to Argentina.
QUESTION: When Gov.-elect Haley becomes Gov. Haley at the inauguration, what’s the first thing you do after that?
ANSWER: In the pickup and driving to the coast.
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Q: Do you plan on staying in South Carolina?
Q: How do you plan on earning a living?
A: I don’t know.
Q: So you don’t have anything lined up right now?
A: I’ve never been that organized. I guess that’s part of it. But the other thing is, it’s like running all the way through the finish line with the job at hand. And, then, I’ll figure it out.
Q: You’re not ruling out another run for office down the road?
A: That’s you media guys. You ask some question: ‘Would you commit to the rest of your life saying that you would never, ever?’ You never say ‘never’; it doesn’t mean that’s my intention or my plan, which it’s not but then it gets interpreted (as) ‘He thinks he might run,’ which is bogus.
Q: There’s some speculation that you might challenge (Republican U.S. Sen.) Lindsey Graham?
A: I think that’s inaccurate.
Q: Do you think that you leave office with the ability to run again in the future? Do you think that the things that happened during your time in office, you’ve been able to move past them to some degree?
A: I wouldn’t presume to answer that question. But I’ve seen firsthand and experienced the fact that there’s an amazing level of grace with the people of this state — remarkable level of grace, remarkable capacity for forgiveness. What that means in political terms, I don’t know. But what I do know in human terms is that it means a lot. It’s the whole of one’s work that ultimately is judged.
I think that, particularly as time goes by, the weight of some of the other issues we worked on will be as much a part of the mix as the well-chronicled down (moment) of the administration.
Q: When you get out of office, will you have a relationship with Ms. Chapur?
A: I think I’ve talked too much about my personal life. I think that there are a number of public comments out there that would lead you to a conclusion on that front.
(Sanford met with Chapur in Florida three months after his February divorce. At the time, he said the meeting included discussing whether the two could have a long-distance relationship.)