Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford suspended his longshot presidential bid on Tuesday, 65 days after he announced he would challenge President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination.
A fiscal hawk, Sanford put the national debt, growing deficits and government spending at the core of his campaign. “Once every four years we have a chance to have a national debate on where we’re going next as Republicans and Democrats and as Americans,” he said. “The thing that has been lacking in this debate has been an earnest and real conversation on debt and deficits and government spending.”
Sanford’s dark horse campaign was hampered from the outset by strong Republican Party support for Trump, a lack of money and a lack of political and public interest in having the kind of national debate on debt and deficits he was hoping to foster.
Sanford said Tuesday that impeachment proceedings against Trump drowned out debate on other issues, including his focus on fiscal conservatism.
“I am suspending my race for the presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,” he said. "From Day 1, I was fully aware of how hard it would be to elevate these issues with a sitting president of my own party ignoring them. Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican Party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment."
Sanford said he will look for other ways to promote debate on the deficit and government spending.