Former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) announced he will challenge President Donald Trump in the GOP primary, becoming his third Republican challenger. He is running on a platform of reducing the national debt and restoring civility in politics.

 

Sanford is a self-described “financial conservative” who served as a U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s first congressional district from 1995-2001 and 2013-2019, as well as governor from 2003-2011. Although he supported Trump in the 2016 election, he has since criticized his excess spending.

In an interview with Fox News, Sanford said he hopes he can open a conversation about national spending.

“Once every four years we have the chance to have a national debate on where we’re going next as republicans and democrats and as Americans, and the thing that has been lacking in this debate has been an earnest and real conversation on debt and deficits and government spending,” he said.

As a congressman, Sanford introduced the Obamacare Replacement Act with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), which would reduce the government’s involvement in choosing an insurance policy and protect those with pre-existing conditions. Like many Republicans, he supported funding for the Mexican border wall and voted “yes” on pro-life legislation.

He joins former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh as Republicans challenging Trump.

After he first announced he was considering a presidential bid in July, Trump mocked him and his two fellow Republican nominees in a tweet calling them the ‘Three Stooges’ and referenced Sanford’s 2009 extramarital affair.

Sanford has since apologized for the incident, in which he disappeared for a few days saying he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, when he was actually visiting his Argentinian girlfriend.

He faces the hurdle of challenging Trump without the support of his home-state South Carolina voters, after they decided to cancel their 2020 GOP primary.

When asked if he thinks he stands a chance against Trump, he replied, “I’m saying you never know.”

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