The Associated Press is reporting that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has gone missing. Sanford, who has been battling the state legislature over federal stimulus funds, was reportedly last seen on Thursday when he drove off in a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division vehicle.
The Republican governor’s whereabouts are unknown even to his wife, but his spokesman Joel Sawyer has released a statement saying that Sanford is merely taking a break.
"Governor Sanford is taking some time away from the office this week to recharge after the stimulus battle and the legislative session and to work on a couple of projects that have fallen by the wayside," Sawyer said.
Additionally, Sawyer told CNN, “Before leaving last week, he let staff know his whereabouts and that he'd be difficult to reach. Should any emergencies arise between the times in which he checks in, our staff would obviously be in contact with other state officials as the situation warrants before making any decisions.”
Sawyer did not indicate whether he personally knew of Sanford’s whereabouts, but some in South Carolina are growing frustrated over the fact that the missing governor did not place anyone in charge during his absence.
"The way things are in the world today and homeland security, we need the governor to be fingertips away," Senator Jake Knotts, a Lexington Republican, told the Associated Press. “Somebody’s got to be in charge.”
State Senate Minority Leader John Land, a Democrat, has also accused Sanford of engaging in "erratic" behavior. “We've been concerned by the governor's erratic behavior for some time,” Land said in a statement. “We're praying for him and his family. I hope he is safe and that he contacts the First Lady and his family soon.”