Washington, June 25 (ANI): South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who rose through the Republican ranks over the past decade, from congressman to governor to potential 2012 presidential candidate, has tearfully admitted having an affair with an Argentine pen pal, diminishing his future GOP chances.
Sanford, after pulling off a bizarre vanishing act this week, reappeared on Wednesday to admit that he was having an affair that involved secret visits with his mistress in Argentina.
South Carolina's Governor arrived home from a secret six-day trip to Buenos Aires to tearfully admit he has been having an affair with an Argentine pen pal.
"I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina," Sanford said at an extraordinary, rambling press conference in Columbia, S.C.
Sanford, who was until this week one of the GOP's most promising rising stars, resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors' Association but did not step down from his job running South Carolina.
His staff initially told reporters that he had left town on Thursday to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but the Governor returned on Wednesday morning on a flight from Argentina.
"I've let down a lot of people. That's the bottom line. I've been unfaithful to my wife," Fox News quoted Sanford, as saying.
E-mails obtained by The State, a South Carolina newspaper, capture deeply personal exchanges between the Governor and the woman, whom the newspaper called only by her first name, Maria.
"My heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul," Sanford wrote in one of the e-mails, dated last summer.
The newspaper said a McClatchy correspondent reached Sanford's mistress, but she declined to be interviewed.
Sanford's wife, Jenny, who apparently had known about the affair for five months, had asked him to leave home two weeks ago and to stop talking to her and their children. In a written statement, she said the couple needed a trial separation, but that her husband had since "earned a chance to resurrect our marriage."
The Governor apologized profusely to his family, his staff and the people of South Carolina. He said he's let down his four sons in a "profound way," though he said his wife had known about the affair for five months and they were trying to work through it. (ANI)