South Carolina GOP censures Sanford

The South Carolina Republican Party voted late Monday to censure embattled Gov. Mark Sanford (R) but stopped short of calling on him to resign.

The committee, which met for nearly four hours on Monday, opted for a non-binding resolution censuring Sanford for leaving the state to visit his Argentine mistress.

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The resolution accuses Sanford of “breach[ing] the public's trust and confidence in his ability to effectively perform the duties of his office” and of failing to act in line with Republican principles.

“The events of the past two weeks have been as divisive as they have been disappointing for Republicans,” South Carolina GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd said in a statement. “But today has brought a large measure of resolution to a sad chapter in our state party’s history. Republicans came together to speak with a unified voice, and now is the time for healing.”

But two weeks after a rambling press conference in which he admitted he had carried on a yearlong affair with the woman, a former reporter he met at a dance club in Uruguay in 2001, Sanford remains entrenched in the governor's office and is showing no signs he intends to heed calls for his resignation.

Sanford left the country two weeks ago after dismissing his security detail. Though his press office said the governor was hiking the Appalachian Trail, Sanford's car was spotted at the Columbia airport, and a reporter for The State newspaper met the governor at Atlanta’s airport when he returned from Argentina.

In a tearful and rambling press conference the next day, Sanford apologized for his actions and begged forgiveness from his mistress, his wife, his children and his supporters.

He has hinted he considered stepping down, but, in an e-mail to supporters, said that would amount to taking the easy way out.

“Immediately after all this unfolded [two weeks ago] I had thought I would resign — as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword,” Sanford wrote to his e-mail list of supporters last week. “A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise — that for God to really work in my life I shouldn't be getting off so lightly.”

Elected officials in the Palmetto State called for investigations into whether Sanford used state money to pay for the six liaisons he has admitted to. Last week, State Law Enforcement Division chief Reggie Lloyd said no evidence of criminal wrongdoing had been uncovered, though a report was forwarded to the State Legislature’s ethics committees.

A few candidates running in the GOP primary to replace Sanford have called for his resignation. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R) and Jim DeMint (R) have not called for Sanford to step down, but they have had conversations with the governor about his behavior.