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Governor Sanford facing impeachment whispers again

This time, it's about politics, not an Argentine mistress. A state senator is investigating whether the governor used state money inappropriately on his travels.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford fields questions for the media about his use of state and commercial planes after his cabinet meeting Tuesday, in Columbia, S.C.

Mary Ann Chastain/AP

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s troubles are apparently far from over.

First came his incommunicado absence, then revelations of an Argentine mistress, and a tearful admission of personal failure – a drama that threatened to loosen his grip on the reins of the Palmetto State.

But the Sanford saga is now moving into a deeper and perhaps even more treacherous territory: a political battle involving an investigation into the Republican governor’s travel plans and his use of state aircraft. With a dogged state senator leading a comprehensive investigation into Governor Sanford’s alleged misdeeds, impeachment whispers can once again be heard in the State Capitol.

“The dialogue has shifted from a concern about the governor’s private conduct to concern about the governor’s public conduct,” says Blease Graham, a political science professor at the University of South Carolina. “This is more than just sensationalism; it’s politics now. There are awkward moments ahead.”

Awkward moments are continuing on the personal front.

One reason for Sanford's survival in the topsy-turvy days after his admission of an affair was that his wife, Jenny Sanford, offered to reconcile, appeasing some in Sanford’s evangelical base.


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