The recent outbreak of hot and heavy gubernatorial hanky-panky by South Carolina’s Mark Sanford has caused some political panic in governors’ offices all across the country. Sanford, the disappearing governor who’s now infamous for taking a loooong, five-day “hike” on the Appalachian Trail – a secret trip that actually took him to a romantic rendezvous with his mistress in Argentina – has raised questions about other governors. The Associated Press telephoned every governor’s office to ask if the incumbents were… well, in.
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Most were, and the staff of those who were not assured AP that they always could find their boss. In fact, some governors might be too reachable. For example, When Florida’s Charlie Crist got married last December, he didn’t let romance get in the way of duty – his press aide says she “talked to the governor 100 times while he was on his honeymoon.”
Sometimes, though, you’d rather not know what your governor is doing. When AP’s reporter called Rick Perry of Texas and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, neither was working on the people’s business. Instead, both were working their lists of fat-cat contributors, hustling campaign cash.
It turns out that a few states are totally relaxed about their governors’ whereabouts. In North Dakota, John Hoeven drives his own car and doesn’t have a security detail, so who knows where he goes? Or cares?
Indeed, the one newsworthy tidbit that AP uncovered in its survey is that Sanford himself found it easy to hop out of the country undetected. He simply lied to his staff and family and dismissed his security detail. As the head of South Carolina’s security agency put it: “As an adult male, he’s free to come and go as he pleases. And so we just honestly quit looking for him.” That won’t boost Sanford’s ego – but it does make sense.
“Unlike South Carolina’s Sanford, most governors pretty easy to keep up with,” Austin American Statesman, June 30, 2009.
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