The Facebook group called “Impeach Mark Sanford,” created by a Democratic activist, has organized a rally at the Statehouse Thursday evening(5:30 p.m.). The group has almost 6,000 members. Its administrator is Marilyn Hemingway. Hemingway fell short of being elected as the first vice chairwoman of the state Democratic Party in April.
The group has pushed for Sanford to be impeached for several months now and wants to see him resign on the basis that he was not available to his staff while in Argentina. But Hemingway says it’s more than that. She says the movement started after Sanford held off on requesting a federal loan to pay unemployment checks, and then wouldn’t take federal stimulus funds.
Hemingway says her on-line group has really grown. “I started the group on Facebook thinking I would get a few hundred people. Now 5,800 people have signed up. 4,500 had signed up before news of the Argentina trip, but it then jumped within a few days by more than 1,000.”
Sanford has said he’s not going to resign. And the calls from GOP legislators for the governor to step down have dropped off recently. The resignation calls have been replaced by reactions similar to those of Representative Murrell Smith, who emphasizes that a SLED review found that Sanford did not misuse public money on his trips. The Sumter republican lawmaker says it’s time for the situation to end and rather than lawmakers listening to any more embarrassing personal details as they would in the case of a hearing, he hopes they can resume the work of the people.
Hemingway says through email campaigns the group has tried to remind Sanford and other lawmakers that they work for the people of South Carolina. And she says she knows that the public and political outcry has dropped off considerably since the governor talked about his Argentine trip.
“If we don’t speak out, it’s a given that he won’t resign at this point, ” she said. “But if enough people speak out, who knows what will happen?”