by William Moultrie
Columbia, SC – Political observers were shocked Thursday morning when they learned that Senator Jim DeMint was resigning his seat, but Governor Nikki Haley has upped the ante by suggesting she might name former Governor Mark Sanford to replace him.
“Mark Sanford was a great congressman, a great governor, and he’ll be a great senator,” said Haley in a statement released to the press.
Haley and Sanford have had a long on-again, off-again political partnership in South Carolina politics. Sanford was one of Haley’s early supporters in her run for governor, but has been critical of her job performance and some of her policies since the election.
Haley was asked about her motivation in appointing Sanford despite speculation by political commentators that she would choose someone like Congressman Tim Scott (R-SC1). Addressing those concerns, she said:
“A lot of cynics think that I’m just trying to ship Mark off to DC so he won’t be around to meddle in my reelection campaign in 2014, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, I realize I’ve had some bumps in the road and people think I might not even win my primary, much less get reelected; and sure, having Mark out there campaigning against me could be damaging to my chances; and sure, him being in Washington and everyone focusing on two Senate races in 2014 is going to take some pressure off my reelection campaign, but in the end it’s all about him being the right person for the job. DeMint’s job that is, not my job.”
Sanford was unavailable for comment, but an unnamed source close to the former governor suggested that he was looking into potential committee assignments in the Senate that would involve frequent travel to South America.