Former Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., ended a visit to Iowa with a campaign stop at noon Wednesday in Des Moines.
Standing outside an Arby’s with a “Beef ‘N Cheddar” sandwich in hand, Sanford, also a former congressman from South Carolina and 2020 candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, spoke with customers about the upcoming election before heading off to the Des Moines International Airport.
Sanford used his time to have casual conversations with customers over lunch. After getting to know them, Sanford asked which issues were most important to them for next year’s presidential election. Among the issues discussed, health care and immigration were mentioned most frequently.
Many customers wanted to know more about Sanford’s campaign and his plans for the future, and they were open to discussing issues with him over the lunch hour.
Sanford announced on Sept. 8 he would run against President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election and his campaign would focus on fiscal issues.
The South Carolina Republican Party’s executive committee voted to cancel the state’s 2020 Republican primary election, ensuring Trump would receive all the state’s delegates.
“It’s a setback,” Sanford said.
Sanford said that debt and government spending is front and center in his campaign.
“It’s been perplexing to me that nobody’s talking about it,” Sanford said. “Democrats aren’t talking about it, Republicans aren’t talking about it and we’re walking ourselves toward a financial crisis.”
Sanford said through his campaign he hopes to find a middle ground in American politics and said he thinks conservatives can go back to traditional ways that worked for Republican presidents in the past.
“As Americans, we all come from different starting points and different advantage points,” Sanford said. “Recognize that it’s okay, and a political opponent is not an enemy.”
Swallow Yan, executive director for the Chinese Association of Iowa, has been actively attending events with different candidates to learn more about their stances.
“[Sanford’s] answers are pretty genuine,” Yan said. “He is a business person who knows how hard it is to make a living and survive.”
Sanford attended the World Food and Music Festival on Sunday in Des Moines, where he spent the rest of his visit meeting with Iowans.