CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford may be getting closer to seeking the Republican nomination against President Trump.
A source close to the Sanford campaign told WLTX that the political veteran continues to get "green lights" on a possible run. He's been going to some early primary states, and will be in Iowa next week. The source believes he's on track to made a decision around Labor Day.
Sanford told WLTX last month that he realizes that neither he nor any other Republican can actually beat Trump for the GOP nod. (Polls shows Trump's approval rating among Republicans above 90 percent). But he said his goal is to refocus the party on fiscal responsibility, which he says the party's drifted away from.
"He continues to believe that debt and spending need to be talked about and sadly remain the undiscussed issue of the 2020 election cycle," the source said.
In the WLTX interview in July, Sanford seemed to suggest an economic downturn could be coming soon, something that other economists have suggested but that President Trump has dismissed.
"This is the calm before the storm," Sanford said last month. "There is a law of averages for a reason we're going to flip on this thing fairly soon, and when it does, given what the fed has done, given what the federal government has done, there's not a lot of wiggle room to react to the next financial crisis."
Sanford has said if he doesn't win, he'll likely start a fiscal advocacy group.
Sanford served in the U.S. House for most of the 1990s, representing South Carolina's First Congressional District. In 2002, he won the South Carolina governorship, and served as the state's leader for two terms.
After getting out of politics for two years, he won a special election for his old First District job when Tim Scott was appointed to fill the state's vacant U.S. Senate seat. During President Donald Trump's presidency, Sanford became an occasional critic of the president, something the president didn't like, and the two sometimes traded words.
In 2018, Sanford was defeated in the GOP primary for his seat. In the hours before polls closed on primary day, the president tweeted support for Sanford's opponent, Katie Arrington, and took some credit for Sanford's loss.