Sanford admits to affair with woman in Argentina

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Update June 24, evening: The State has released e-mails between Sanford and his mistress. Get the details.

Also, know that an old number shows that the state spend money sending Sanford on trips. This will be a talking point as the future of Sanford's role in South Carolina plays out.

The Augusta Chronicle reported in December:

Gov. Mark Sanford ranks in the top 50 based on the total amount he spent on trips paid by his office and those paid by the state Commerce Department. Mr. Sanford has traveled to China, Argentina and Brazil through the Commerce Department, which has travel reports showing taxpayers covering $21,488 for those trips.

First reporting:

At a press conference going on Wednesday, June 24, Sanford has admitted that he was having an affair with "a very dear friend" in Argentina.

"I've been unfaithful to my wife."

It didn't take Governor Mark Sanford long to get to those words, and it set the tone for a frank apology to his wife, staff, and South Carolina for his actions.

Sanford stated that the affair had begun "innocently" about eight years ago and has since developed, culminating in a romantic life about a year ago.

The governor went on to say that his wife, Jenny, and him had been dealing with it for about five months, and that the latest trip was to break off the relationship.

Near the end of his address that left him with an occasionally trembling voice, he stated he is resigning as the head of the Republican Governors Association as he will need to devote much time to the healing and recovery process. Sanford was asked if he was resigning as the Governor of South Carolina, but had turned to move away from the podium by the time he was asked and chose not to respond.

Sanford had requested that the media use restraint when covering his family at their Sullivan's Island home. Sanford did not mention the name of the woman he had an affair with.

The address sits atop a bizarre multi-day saga where first Sanford was missing, then his staff insisting that he was merely hiking the Appalachian Trail to do some thinking.

In the end, it's a blow that may well end an oft-speculated 2012 presidential run for the Governor.

Write-ups on this story are sure to spring up, but the best I've seen thus far is at The State -- though there's not much more in it than you'll find here.

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