South Carolina state senator Jake Knotts on Thursday accused Gov. Mark Sanford of orchestrating a campaign to paint Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (pictured), a potential successor of the embattled Sanford, as gay.
Knotts, a Republican, made the accusation in a letter to state legislators, in which he also called for the swift removal of Sanford. The governor admitted in June to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina, which has led to troubling scrutiny of his travel records, although earlier this week he vowed to hold onto his office.
Among those calling for Sanford to resign is Lieutenant Governor Bauer, a Republican like Sanford but also his political rival.
This week blogger Mike Rogers, whose work outing closeted gay politicians with antigay voting records inspired the film Outrage, said that Bauer is gay, claiming that multiple sources could confirm his sexual interactions with men.
Knotts said that the gay rumors about Bauer were contrived by Sanford and his associates, according to The Palmetto Scoop.
"During the last two months, we have discovered plenty of solid reasons to remove our current governor from office; but now there's one more reason: The people trying to keep Sanford in power have stooped to a new low with this week's false character assassination of Bauer," Knotts wrote, according to the news source.