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Mark Sanford blames impeachment probe for the end of his quixotic anti-Trump 2020 primary bid

One of the long-shot Republican primary bids against incumbent President Donald Trump is now over with the announcement that former South Carolina governor and U.S. House member Mark Sanford is pulling out of the race.

Sanford first announced his candidacy on Fox News Channel on Sunday, September 8, saying that "we need to have a conversation about what it means to be a Republican" as well as taking aim at the party's reckless spending. Apparently, Washington Democrats' latest efforts to impeach President Donald Trump have precluded the possibility of having that conversation on the campaign trail, according to the now-former candidate.

The Charleston Post and Courier reports that Sanford announced his withdrawal from the race to a group of reporters outside the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord on Tuesday and blamed the House's impeachment probe for dominating the debate in the 2020 race, saying, "You gotta be a realist, and what I did not anticipate is an impeachment."

A campaign statement from Sanford about the decision said that "impeachment has made our goal of making the debt, deficit, and spending issue a part of the presidential debate impossible right now" but adds that he "will find other ways to advance discussion, debate and change on our unsustainable course on debt, deficits and spending."

Sanford's closing statement also took a parting jab at President Trump, calling the 45th commander in chief a "problem" who "will prove to be no more than an insignificant irritant in the pages of time" because of his conduct and demeanor.

Before it was even announced, the mere idea of a Sanford run had already been criticized as a "vanity project" by South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick, who said, “The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his Governorship," referring to the politician's infamous 2009 fiasco involving a foreign mistress.

Sanford wasn't alone in his effort to mount a primary challenge against President Trump; his announcement still leaves former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld's long-shot anti-Trump primary bids in the 2020 race.

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