Barbour takes over RGA as SC governor admits affair

By WLOX Staff

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is taking over as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford stepped down from the position Wednesday after he admitted having an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.

Sanford had been gone for nearly a week. His staff told the media he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but Sanford admitted Wednesday that he'd been in South America all along.

Sanford had been talked up as a possible presidential candidate in 2012.

"The news revealed today hurts all of us who have gotten to know Governor Sanford over the years and so it is with regret that the RGA accepted Governor Sanford's resignation as chairman. While this news is deeply disappointing, I also know it's important to remain focused on the future and Governor Sanford's resignation allows him and us to do just that," Gov. Barbour said.

"The RGA has an important task over the next two years. I am committed to seeing it through and confident we will succeed."

RGA Executive Director Nick Ayers had high praise for Barbour, saying in a statement, "As a former RNC chairman and one of the best governors in the country, no one is better positioned to takeover as RGA chairman than Governor Barbour."

Gov. Barbour has been out of the state most of the week. Wednesday he was making a fundraising trip to New Hampshire. Barbour was scheduled to be back in Jackson by Thursday morning when he will address the media about continuing efforts to develop a state budget for Fiscal Year 2010.

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