- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) | Fellow Republicans have censured South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for leaving the state last month on a secret trip to Argentina to meet his mistress.

The state party met for more than three hours by phone Monday before 22 members of the executive committee voted to formally reprimand Mr. Sanford. Ten others voted to ask him to resign, while nine voted to support him.

In a statement, Mr. Sanford said he appreciates the party’s position and will continue to work to earn back its trust.

Mr. Sanford might have survived a state probe last week into his travel, but plenty of his fellow Republicans say they are still hearing from unhappy constituents.

The governor has repeatedly said he will serve his remaining 18 months in office.

The governor returned to South Carolina after spending the weekend with his family in Florida, where his wife’s family lives. On Monday, he attended a closed briefing on port security in North Charleston.

He was to attend the briefing with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, on a task force to protect the nation’s ports. But he did not attend a meeting with reporters after the briefing.

Some constituents and influential lawmakers have said that Mr. Sanford should resign after misleading the public about his loyalty to family and trips to see his mistress.

“We can never trust him again,” said Pam Johnson, a 45-year-old nurse from Greenville, a mother of three teenage children. “What a hypocrite. He betrayed his family. He betrayed his state. South Carolina has become a national joke. He just needs to go.”

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