By Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has not been seen or heard from since Thursday, but his staff members said last night that he has been hiking the Appalachian Trail for the past five days.
"I apologize for taking so long to send this update, and was waiting to see if a more definitive idea of what part of the trail he was on before we did so," said Joel Sawyer, the Republican governor's spokesman. Sawyer added that he will update the public on Sanford's specific whereabouts as soon as he knows them.
The office of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) released a statement maintaining that Sanford's staff had originally told his office earlier yesterday that they knew where the governor was -- a claim that turned out to be false. Bauer said that he called Sanford's office requesting to speak to the governor and that the "request was denied because the governor's chief of staff does not know where the governor is, and has not communicated with the governor since he left South Carolina last Thursday."
Bauer added that he "cannot take lightly that his staff has not had communication with [Sanford] for more than four days."
Earlier in the day, Sawyer said that "the governor put in a lot of time during this last legislative session, and after the session winds down it's not uncommon for him to go out of pocket for a few days at a time to clear his head. 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."
Some considered Sanford's disappearance odd for someone seen as a likely presidential candidate in 2012.