Election 2020

Mark Sanford, Old Trump Foe, May Enter Republican Presidential Primary

The libertarian-leaning Republican was unseated after criticizing, among several things, the president's poor grasp of the Constitution.


President Trump may have another primary challenger in the 2020 election. In an interview with The Post and Courier, former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford said that he planned to spend the next month deciding whether or not he would enter the upcoming presidential Republican primary.

"Sometimes in life you've got to say what you've got to say, whether there's an audience or not for that message," he said in the interview. "I feel convicted."

Sanford, who largely advocated for limited government during his time in Congress, has criticized Trump several times in the past for lacking a firm grasp on the Constitution, wanting to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and even his "shithole" countries comment.

Sanford lost his Republican primary in 2018. His loss was believed to be an early indicator of the weakness of anti-Trump Republicans in the face of a newer, more Trumpian party.

So far, Trump's only primary opponent is former Massachusetts governor and Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Bill Weld. Upon making the announcement, Weld referred to himself as a "Reagan Republican." He has since criticized Trump for not being economically conservative.

There is also speculation that Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) could join the race. Amash has very recently left the Republican Party, as well as his congressional committees. Whether he chooses to run as a Republican, Libertarian, or independent, it's possible that his entry into the race could disrupt both Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee's 2020 dreams.