Politics

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford Mulls Trump Primary Challenge

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is considering running for president as a Republican.

The former governor and congressman told the Post and Courier that he was mulling a challenge to President Donald Trump, expressing concern that the Republican party has moved away from fiscal conservatism. (RELATED: SANFORD: America Needs A New Ross Perot To Tell The Truth About Government Spending)

“I’m a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters,” Sanford told the Charleston-based publication.

In the interview, Sanford seemed to acknowledge the long odds of unseating a president from his own party.

“Sometimes in life you’ve got to say what you’ve got to say, whether there’s an audience or not for that message,” Sanford said. “I feel convicted.”

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) looks up while attending a picnic for members of Congress hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington September 17, 2014. Sanford and his former wife have agreed to go to mediation over the latest spat arising from their divorce in 2010 after his extramarital affair while serving as the state's governor, a judge said on Monday. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR46NU7

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) looks up while attending a picnic for members of Congress hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

During his final term in Congress, Sanford emerged as one of Trump’s harshest Republican critics, something that drew the president’s ire. Before the South Carolina primaries last year, Trump endorsed Sanford’s opponent, state Rep. Katie Arrington who defeated Sanford in what was widely considered a stunning upset.

Arrington went on to lose the general election in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district to now-Rep. Joe Cunningham. (RELATED: Katie Arrington Is Back To Pounding The Campaign Trail Wearing Red, White, And Blue Leg Cast)

Any primary challenge to Trump is likely to face long odds. The president has the support of the Republican party’s apparatus, and raised more than $100 million in coordination with the Republican National Committee (RNC) during the last quarter. Trump also remains popular within the party, holding a roughly 90% approval rating among Republican voters.

The South Carolina Republican party released a statement ridiculing the possibility of a Sanford presidential campaign.

“The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his Governorship,” party Chairman Drew McKissick said. “This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian trail.”