Sept. 8, 2019 - Former U.S. Rep. and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) Announces Candidacy 

• Former U.S. Rep. and Gov. Mark Sanford becomes the third major Republican challenger to President Trump, setting his focus on debt, deficits and spending.

• He announced on "FOX News Sunday" (+) and via video.  On FOX he said, "I had planned to announce that back home this week.  We had a hurricane come visit us on the coast of South Carolina so that sort of disrupted plans on that front."

Sept. 8, 2019 Video "Why I'm Running" 2m12s

Sanford: I'm Mark Sanford, and after a lot of thinking, praying and talking to friends, I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and will run for president in the Republican primary.  I don't know what will come of it, but I believe what's happening in Washington needs challenging.  We're headed towards the most predictable financial crisis in the history of our country, and we've never been as financially vulnerable save for the start of our Republic, the Civil War and World War II.  I can't sit on the sidelines and not speak up, and all of us should find a way to make our voices heard.  It's the only thing that can change things in Washington.

My focus on debt and spending is not to suggest that other issues aren't  important.  They are.  It's also not to suggest that I don't have other differences with the President.  I do, and my comments are well chronicled.  It's just to say that in a long-shot effort, it's best to focus.  And so I will in pointing out how important it is that we change our course on debt and spending.  Democrats aren't talking about it, and instead are in a daily competition of more versus more at the presidential level.  The President himself has called himself the king of debt and ruled out action on the very things that drive our debt and spending.

As Republicans, I believe it's vital that we debate what has historically been a cornerstone belief: that it wasn't right to hand our kids the bill for our government expenses, that you couldn't spend more than you took in forever and that being conservative on money matters made common sense.

Every four years we focus as a country on the presidential race, what we value and where we want to go next as a nation.  This is our chance.  Waiting another four years for a debate on this subject would hurt all of us, because without an offsetting debate to more versus more, you simply end up with more, and me and you will be paying for it.

So for these reasons, I'm stepping forward.  As I do, I ask for your prayers, wisdom and help, but most of all, I ask for your involvement.  It will take all of us pushing independently toward financial sanity and changing discourse in Washington for us to get there, but I believe that we can if we all keep pushing.  Join us, and you can find me at

A Long Letter From Mark On Debt and Campaign Themes.

If you have been watching and listening to the candidates and media discussion in this 2020 Presidential election cycle you’ve heard a lot of talk about many important issues but almost none about debt, deficits and spending. Accordingly, our campaign is committed to raising awareness, discussion and debate on this issue. You can never fix a problem you don’t see. Democrats are not talking about it. Concurrently, the President has called himself the “King of Debt” and ruled out action on the very things that drive our debt and spending.

So, we are left in a political no-man’s land wherein most people aren’t aware, or know little of, the perilous implications our growing debt and spending will have in their lives.

The math today suggests that this is raw political negligence that will ultimately hurt every one of us because history has shown that when political forces don’t confront mathematical realities, the financial markets are left to do so. This is where the hurt comes in for each of us. Financial markets don’t care whether you’re a Republican or Democrat. They don’t care about political spin. They care about math, and ours doesn’t add up in Washington.

In fact, we are headed toward a financial trainwreck the likes of which our country has never seen. We have never been as financially vulnerable save for the start of our Republic, the Civil War and World War Two. We are all stakeholders in what comes next and accordingly we should find a way to make our voices heard – it’s the only way we can change things in Washington.

On differing pages on this website, you will find much more in the way of detail on why and how the debt, deficit, and spending issue should matter to you and those you love. I invite you to explore these pages and share your thoughts, ideas and insights to what you read and see.

As to other issues, I agree with the concerns and frustrations raised by many fellow Republicans and Trump voters. Much needs to be changed in Washington, and for more than 25 years I have pushed with all I have to change things in politics. In fact, some say I was country before country was cool on this. I am the former Governor who walked into the South Carolina State House with a pig under each arm to decry pork barrel spending. I was the first Governor in the country to turn back former President Obama’s stimulus package. I could produce a long list of vigorous efforts and vital actions to change the status quo, but in these efforts, I have never tried to cast aside norms, traditions or institutions that have served us well for 200 years. I am a conservative. A part of my political philosophy lies in the belief that reasoned and measured steps need to take into account the wisdom of those who have brought us to where we are today.

What this means is that wanting change in Washington does not make you and me a deplorable. Change is long overdue. But it also means we should not throw out the good with the bad. The President’s fits and tirades are challenging and changing long held political norms. While change can be good, I believe there will be more hurt than help to our job and economic prospects, the American dream, our political system and our place in the world with his approach.

America is exceptional because our Founding Fathers made exceptional choices in the way they designed our political system. It’s not a birthright, but too often the President disregards this, even though honoring their design is key to America sustaining its role as an exceptional place.

Deviation from their design, whether in the size of government or in something like civility, hurts all of us because it weakens the very balance and function of the government they created. The American way was devised to maximize individual liberty, private property, the rule of law, competitive free enterprise, limited and frugal government, strong local communities, fiscal and personal responsibility and civility in public life. The guidebook to sustaining and building the American dream rests in the United States Constitution, and in as much as we adhere to its limitations there will be expanded opportunities for all of us.

I believe in reason and measured debate. I believe in stewardship – with the environment and more – because I feel we should leave the world better than we found it. I believe that while trade practices can certainly be improved upon, they are vital and have leveraged our economy and economic well-being – accordingly I think the President’s approach here is wrong. I believe that institutions, as checks on power, were vital in the Founding Fathers design and remain essential to preserving liberty in America. I believe that a restrained political culture, and the humility that comes with it, is an essential American tradition as well.

In short, as a conservative I believe in honoring traditions that work. And where change is needed, I believe it should fit within the construct of the United States Constitution and limited government. Many things may need changing but the Federal Government should not do it all. Our local voices and communities can be strengthened when change is allowed to originate outside of Washington DC.

I point all this out to make clear that my focus on debt, deficits and spending is not meant to suggest that other issues aren’t important – they are – but where change begins and how we pay for it is real important too. Likewise, not dwelling on grievances with the President doesn’t mean I don’t have differences with him, I do, and my comments are well chronicled. It’s just to say that in a long shot effort its best to focus – and so we will in pointing out how important it is we change our course on debt and spending.

My campaign is based on fairness and common sense. It’s about the building blocks to sustaining the American Dream. It’s about returning to basics. On money matters, it isn’t right to hand to our kids the bill for our government expenses. You can’t spend more than you take in forever and being conservative on money has always served people and civilizations well. The same common sense could be applied to the importance of sustaining institutions that have been part of the formula to keeping Democracy alive.

For these reasons and more, I’ve stepped forward. In doing so, I ask for your prayers, wisdom and help – but most of all I ask for your involvement. It will take all of us pushing independently toward financial sanity and a more reasoned approach to politics for us to get there. I again ask that you join us.