Former SC Governor, Congressman Mark Sanford Joins Lobbying Firm

March 30, 2021 by Dan McCue
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2019, file photo, then Republican presidential candidate former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford speaks during a news conference in front of the Stateh ouse, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Concord, N.H. Sanford, the former South Carolina governor, congressman and one-time presidential candidate, is going to work for a lobbying firm. Shumaker Advisors announced Tuesday, March 30, 2021, that Sanford would be joining the firm, working from Charleston (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor who served two stints in Congress and briefly ran against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president, is joining a lobbying firm.

Shumaker Advisors, which announced Sanford’s hiring on Tuesday, said he is joining the firm as an executive vice president and principal.

“I could not be more proud to welcome Gov. Sanford to the Shumaker family,” said Shumaker Managing Partner Steve Meckler in a written statement.. 

“As the Federal Government continues to grow, we see increased needs every day from our clients that need assistance navigating legislative procedure and regulations,” Meckler said. 

“Gov. Sanford adds another critical component in our ability to advise well on government and legislative issues. For our clients with business in the Carolinas, Gov. Sanford will be an invaluable resource as they navigate the complicated intersection of policy and law,” he added.

“Mark’s knowledge of policymaking at both the state and federal level is unmatched. He has a command of the issues, the process, and the politics, and our clients will be well served by his leadership,” said Shumaker Advisors Florida Executive Vice President David Jolly, a former congressman whose time in the House overlapped with Sanford’s second congressional career.

Shumaker Advisors is the government relations arm of a law firm founded in 1925, and it now operates seven offices in Ohio, Florida, Michigan and the Carolinas, according to its website.

The company’s announcement did not make clear whether Sanford would be an advisor to the firm, or would register as a lobbyist. It did say he would work out of the company’s Charleston, S.C., office.

“I have been honored to serve the citizens of South Carolina and of the United States and look forward to this new chapter,” Sanford said in a statement. “I’ve always tried not only to make government smaller, but to well understand its details, and in this light I look forward to joining the team of outstanding professionals at Shumaker.”

Sanford’s public future has been up in the air since he mounted a short-lived challenge to Trump in the early days of the 2020 election cycle.

He ran on a single issue — the national debt — but gained little traction. When the South Carolina GOP decided not to hold a presidential primary that year, it effectively gave Sanford, already a longshot, no reasonable path forward.

The televised impeachment hearings that year and the wall-to-wall coverage the event inspired, sucked up any remaining air that was left for a candidate seeking some publicity.

“From day one, I was fully aware of how hard it would be to elevate these issues with a sitting president of my own party ignoring them,” Sanford said as he bowed out of the race. “Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican Party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment.”

“I’m going to look for other ways to advance these incredibly timely and important but now out of season issues,” he added.

Sanford won three terms to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s and was elected twice as governor before an extramarital affair overshadowed the remainder of his second term.

From that point on, his decision in 2009 to have a secret rendezvous with his Argentine mistress — while having told his staff he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail — saw him tagged, dismissively, as the “Luv Gov”

But miraculously, Sanford wasn’t done and his supporters in South Carolina weren’t done with him. He won a special election to his old House Seat in 2013 and he won twice more before his criticism of Trump led to a 2018 primary loss.

The seat eventually was won by Democrat Joe Cunningham, who lost his bid for a second term to Republican Nancy Mace in November.

The Shumaker Advisors website says the company works closely with clients in the food and beverage, health care, retirement planning, agriculture, environment, general public policy, and related industries, to provide a bridge to government, government agencies, and legislators that shape the future of business in these highly regulated markets.

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