AWOL South Carolina Governor Sanford and Washington’s Lt. Governor Vic Meyers

AWOL South Carolina Governor Sanford and Washington’s Lt. Governor Vic Meyers

I’ve been following the bizarre behavior of South Carolina’s governor Mark Sanford who disappeared for five days and then suddenly reappeared. Republican Sanford is chairman of the Republican Governors Association and considered a leading Republican presidential candidate, or at least he was until this fiasco. This is the man who rejected millions in federal stimulus money for education and has been outspoken in trying to demonstrate his conservative Republican values. First, his staff put out the story that he was merely "hiking along the Appalachian Trail" even though no one including his wife and children had a clue where he had disappeared to. And now it turns out he was in Argentina for some yet to be explained reason.

However, curious this strange tale, my interest was more local because it brought back memories of the antics of Washington’s Lieutenant Governor Vic Meyers. In South Carolina the disappearance made Lieutenant Governor, Andre Bauer perplexed. He didn't know what to do. He called the Governor’s office and demanded an immediate conversation with Sanford, who was, of course, gone missing. Bauer complained about the lack of leadership and worried about the affairs of state.

Now if that had happened while Vic Meyers was Lieutenant Governor I know what would have Meyers happened. He would have pounced on the absence of the governor and immediately seized control. I know that because that’s exactly what he did back in 1938.

I’ve written about Meyers before (12./15/08 Meyers, a former Seattle jazz band leader ran in 1932 purely as a publicity stunt and to everyone’s surprise, including his own, was elected. He gave Washington’s governor, Clarence Martin fits. The state constitution gave the lieutenant governor power to act in the absence from the state by the governor. When Martin left the state for a meeting in Washington D.C. Meyers immediately assumed control and called for a special session of the legislature. The frantic governor had to rush back to stop him. After that Martin was fearful about ever leaving the state again while Meyers was his Lieutenant Governor.

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