Mark Sanford Is The Latest Fox News Pundit Turned Republican Candidate

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Mark Sanford officially announced on January 16 that he's running for Congress in South Carolina. Sanford tried to rehabilitate his tarnished image by recently working as a Fox News contributor.

Fox News hired Sanford in October 2011 after a tumultuous finish to his second term as governor, marked by national news about his affair and a subsequent ethics rebuke. The conservative news network hired Sanford despite previously deriding him as a "serial liar," a "laughingstock," and an "early brain donor." Fox Nation recently headlined news about Sanford's run as "Disgraced Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford To Run For Congress" (and quickly pulled the article after Media Matters posted about it).  

Sanford was a frequent guest during Fox's coverage of the South Carolina Republican primary, making numerous appearances in the run-up to the January 21 contest and on Fox's primetime South Carolina results coverage. He also appeared on Fox to discuss the South Carolina Boeing-NLRB case. Fox News turned to Sanford on a range of other topics such as the general election, Libya, and President Obama's jobs proposals. Sanford also wrote columns for about the 2012 elections.

According to a search, Sanford most recently appeared as a Fox News contributor on the November 3 edition of America's Election HQ to discuss the upcoming election.

Sanford's campaign website touts his Fox News employment, stating that since "leaving the governorship, Mark has served as a commentator for FOX News."

Several other Republicans have followed similar paths from Fox News employment to Republican office-seeker, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Angela McGlowan, and Pete Snyder. Fox News contributor Keith Ablow is considering a run for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts if Sen. John Kerry is confirmed as secretary of state and better known Republicans decline to run, and contributor Liz Cheney is reportedly considering a run for office in Wyoming.

Santorum said during his failed campaign that his prior Fox employment had "been big" and "helped folks remember who I am ... It's a great platform, being able to talk about the current issues of the day." A Columbia Free Times profile of Sanford reported that he was approached by numerous supporters at a tea party convention and one "rushed up to mention that she's seen Sanford on FOX News." 

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