Politics & Government

Sanford challenger drops out of GOP primary race

Tom Perez
Tom Perez Provided

A candidate running against U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, has dropped out of the GOP primary and will instead deploy overseas with his military unit.

Tom Perez of Charleston announced Wednesday that he would drop out of the 2018 race, citing an upcoming deployment with the Naval Reserve.

In a press release, Perez said that “based on his current orders, his deployment would coincide with critical points of the campaign, and he would be returning after the primary election is held.”

“I go where my country needs me,” said Perez, who works as a defense analyst. “As much as my wife and children wish for me to be needed in Congress, right now my country needs me more defending freedom overseas.”

Sanford still faces another announced primary challenger, Charleston businessman Ted Fienning, who is also a reserve Marine Corps pilot. Sanford is also a former captain in the Air Force Reserve.