COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, joined the Republican race against President Donald Trump on Sunday, aiming to put his Appalachian trail travails behind him for good as he pursues an admittedly remote path to the presidency.
“I am here to tell you now that I am going to get in,” Sanford said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” ”This is the beginning of a long walk.”
When asked why he was taking on an incumbent who’s popular within the party, Sanford, who has acknowledged his slim chances by saying he doesn’t expect to become president, said: “I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican. I think that as the Republican Party, we have lost our way.”
Sanford joins Joe Walsh, a former tea-party-backed, one-term congressman from Illinois, and Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, as primary challengers to Trump.
“This vanity project is going absolutely nowhere,” said Drew McKissick, the South Carolina Republican Party chairman.
Sanford tweeted that he respects “the view of many Republican friends who have suggested that I not run, but I simply counter that competition makes us stronger.”
“Humbly I step forward,” he said.
The 59-year-old Sanford has long been an outspoken critic of Trump’s, frequently questioning his motivations and qualifications during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election and calling Trump’s candidacy “a particularly tough pill to swallow.”