It surely wasn't how Mark Sanford imagined kicking off his presidential campaign. As the Republican challenger to President Trump stood behind a podium at Philadelphia's People's Plaza on Wednesday, the Inquirer's Anna Orso was the only reporter present. Apart from two aides, an Inquirer photographer, a 6ABC cameraman who made a brief appearance, and "a group of students from Paris who wanted to know why [Sanford] had such a big check," the only interested party was a Democrat who won't be voting in the GOP primary, Orso writes. "Nobody knows me in Philadelphia. I get it," Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, told her while holding a $1 trillion check meant to symbolize the national deficit.
Sanford hopes many more Americans will know him by Wednesday when he wraps a 3,500-mile road trip across 11 states. The candidate calling for fiscal responsibility and "empathy and humility" in politics has a larger bankroll than GOP challengers Joe Walsh and Bill Weld, thanks to $1.3 million transferred from his congressional campaign, per the Post and Courier. Even so, two volunteers and $60,000 in fundraising as of September makes for a "long-long-long-shot presidential campaign," something Sanford himself acknowledges, per the Inquirer. "If there's an appetite in terms of people's concerns on the financial realities of our country and the way in which we are at a tipping point, then there's going to be some level of measure and movement with regard to the campaign," he said. Otherwise, "it will be short-lived." (Trump calls him Mr. Appalachian Trail.)