Mark Sanford Ends His Primary Challenge Against President Trump

Rep. Jim Jordan speaks to reporters during a break in a closed-door deposition as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump

Rep. Jim Jordan speaks to reporters during a break in a closed-door deposition as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump

Mark Sanford has ended his primary challenge against President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, telling reporters Tuesday that the impeachment inquiry against the president kept his campaign from gaining traction.

In a letter to supporters on Tuesday, Sanford expanded on how the impeachment inquiry led him to end his run because it "has made our goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now".

"You've got to be a realist", Sanford said outside the New Hampshire statehouse.

The start of the first impeachment hearings in 20 years has dominated public attention, making it hard for candidates in both parties to break through.

According to the South Carolina Republican, given the whistleblower was not participating in the proceedings, the impeachment effort denied the "basics of due process".

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh are still mounting GOP primary challenges to Trump. Sanford, who also served in Congress, said that he had attempted to inject the topic of fiscal responsibility "into the national debate". He centered his campaign on warnings about the national debt, but said Republicans were more interested in defending Trump from the threat of impeachment. A member of the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus when he was in Congress, he has always been an outspoken critic of Trump's rhetoric and policy.

From the very beginning, Sanford acknowledged the uphill battle he was up against by launching a primary against a president of his own party.

Sanford was first elected to the House in 1994.

Sanford's tenure as SC governor was rocked by scandal in 2009 after he secretly traveled to Argentina to meet with his lover, Buenos Aires resident Maria Belen Chapur. The married father of four returned later and admitted in a tearful press conference he had instead been in Argentina visiting his mistress. Sanford launched a comeback bid for his old House seat, winning in a 2013 special election. "Appalachian Trail", from President Trump in what became one of the president's few attacks on Sanford in this year's campaign as Trump has given little attention to his primary challengers.

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