Why Sanford May Avoid Spitzer's Fate

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2009 4:45 AM CDT
Eliot Spitzer announces his resignation amidst a prostitution scandal as wife Silda looks on in his offices in New York City.    (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)
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(Newser) – The calls for Mark Sanford to resign are growing louder, but recent history suggests that the South Carolina governor has a chance to hold on, writes the Washington Times. While every politician who admits an affair faces calls to quit, only those who have committed real crimes are hounded from office. Sanford may end up like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or Sen. David Vitter: embarrassed, but still in power.

Fellow governors Eliot Spitzer and Jim McGreevey were toppled for serious misdeeds—connections to a prostitution ring, a plum job for a lover—rather than simple affairs. Sex-texting former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick went to prison for perjury and obstruction of justice. If Sanford does go, it might not be because of the affair, but rather his disappearance and subsequent bizarre confessionals. "His problem isn't that voters think he's immoral, it's that they think he's weird," said one GOP strategist.