Sanford and Virginia’s race for governor
There is little doubt that the admission of infidelity by Governor Mark Sanford will have implications beyond South Carolina. Not only had Sanford become a vocal critic of the Obama administration, but he was a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and the high profile chair of the Republican Governors Association (RGA).
Aside from admitting that he cheated, the most significant piece of news that came from his strange press conference was Sanford’s decision to immediately resign as the chair of the RGA. The Republican Governors Association has been one of Bob McDonnell‘s biggest supporters, and one of the leading forces working to return the GOP to greatness. They have specifically focused their efforts on the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey as way to begin the long climb back.
While Sanford was the face of the RGA and Bob McDonnell has been heavily relying on the RGA, there is little to demonstrate a close personal tie between McDonnell and Sanford. Sanford, like many other prominent Republican governors, had been rumored to be coming Virginia to raise money for McDonnell, but no concrete plans were ever released. Sanford, himself, has not donated to McDonnell’s campaign.
While Sanford has not headlined a fundraiser specifically for McDonnell, the two were together at an event held in Northern Virginia on May 8th that led to a $750,000 windfall for the McDonnell campaign. The event was held by uber-fundraiser Fred Maleck for the Executive Roundtable of the RGA. Sanford was there and McDonnell was also a guest. McDonnell left the fundraiser with a $750,000 donation from the RGA. You can see the details of the donation here. The event got a little bit of press prior to the event because Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was expected to attend, but then backed out. Sanford, ironically replaced her.
The McDonnell campaign confirms that both their candidate and Sanford were in attendance.
McDonnell’s campaign did not have much to say about the Sanford admission. Spokesman Tucker Martin would only say that “Our thoughts are with the Sanford family. This is an incredibly sad situation and a very tough time for them. ”
Democrats, meanwhile, are letting the controversy speak for itself. They did not return a request for comment.
Interestingly, Mark Sanford has, for the most part, been purged from the RGA web site. However, one clip is still available for view. It features Sanford’s introduction of Bob McDonnell and New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie at the group’s retreat this past winter. (A screen grab is pictured above).