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Mark Sanford, Jr.'s Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (SC) - District 1, Republican
On The Ballot: Running, Republican for U.S. House - District 1
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Mark Sanford, Jr. is currently being tested through the 2016 Political Courage Test.
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Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These issue positions, from the year 2016, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-life Inferred Answer Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by National Right to Life Committee (
  • "I believe life is sacred, and in the debate over when life begins I believe that as a society we should always err on the side of life.” (
  • Co-Sponsored H.R 1091 “Life at Conception Act” (
No Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “Stop the tax hikes. Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes […]” (
  • “One, a lowered and flattened income tax would represent a significant step towards making our state more attractive, and improving our competitive position when it comes to growing our economy.” (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “WHEREAS, substance use disorders are a serious and treatable public health problem affecting millions of Americans of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds and having huge medical, societal, and economic costs […].” (
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “This notion that, you know, basically you've got to take the stimulus money or else is, I think, very, very dangerous. We will end up in a financial hole of about $1 billion 24 months from now as a result of spending every dime of this stimulus money.” (
  • “Now Bloomberg argues we're over $7 trillion in stimulus. And what we've done is the equivalent of backing up a couple of big dump trucks to the local lake, unloaded sugar, hoping it will sweeten the lake. It hadn't worked. And now we say if we throw this one Twinkie in, it will make the difference in sweetening the lake or, in our case, stimulating the economy.” (
  • “Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “Whether it's been the idea of paying for past promises before we make new ones or the idea of holding the line on spending, we've talked about sticking to a number of principles when it comes to our state's budget – and one of the most important of these is the idea of sending a dividend back to taxpayers.” (
  • “We believe a better approach would be to simply lower the overall tax rate for corporations, so that we're not only giving companies a good deal when they decide to locate here but we're giving them a reason to stay and expand.” (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “We continue to believe passionately that a parent ought to be able to decide what school works best for their child, and as a consequence believe in the need for choice in education and market based solutions to education.” (
  • “As a Representative for the 1st District of South Carolina, I will oppose Common Core at the federal level.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in Favor of S.1 “A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline” (
  • “Over six years ago, the Canadian energy and infrastructure company TransCanada filed their application with the US State Department to build the Keystone Pipeline […] The best time to have built this was in 2008, the next best time is right now.” (
No Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 13% by Environment America (
  • “Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy. Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.” (
  • “I look forward to learning more about offshore energy production during this trip and witnessing firsthand what it entails, given the role it plays in both our country's energy future and the larger debate policy makers will have on the pros and cons of drilling off the coast of South Carolina.” (
  • “I like renewable energy, but should the federal government really pick winners and losers in this field? The cost for solar in the bill was $6.4 billion. Allocating so many billions of dollars in financial advantage over tide, hydro, or other renewable forms of energy is a good idea?” (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 8% by the League of Conservation Voters (
  • Co-sponsored H.R 1461 “Renewable Fuel Standard Elimination Act” (
  • “Governor Mark Sanford today accepted the report of his Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee (CECAC), a group tasked with reviewing possible climate change impacts in South Carolina and formulating strategies to address those changes going forward. […] Among the report's recommendations are: Carbon Footprint: A voluntary reduction in state carbon emissions to five percent below the 1990 level by 2020.” (
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 90% by Gun Owners of America – Positions (
  • “The 'Framework,' however, establishes an unduly restrictive standard, does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law, and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.” (
  • “Mark has always been a staunch defender of the second amendment and would continue to be so if elected to Congress.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Co-sponsored H.R. 2682 “Defund Obamacare Act of 2013” (
  • “I pledge, if elected, to vote for all bills which seek to REPEAL the health care bill, HR 3590, signed into law on March 23, 2010.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We don't need amnesty and we need border security before we look any further into immigration reform.” (
  • Signed a letter stating “We write you today to thank you for standing firm and forcing the Senate to act on a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that stops President Obama's unlawful executive actions on immigration.” (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R. 3396 “Defense of Marriage Act” (
  • Rated 0% by the Human Rights Campaign (
  • “What I have said is I think the current debate has little to do with same-sex marriage and a whole lot to do with democratic traditions in this country, and a whole lot to do with the courts. I think that if you’re a conservative, you believe in this notion of federalism, that one size does not fit all and that we shouldn’t have prescriptive answers coming out of Washington, D.C., for any of the different things ultimately that we have got to resolve as a family of Americans.” (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “Last week a federal appeals court declared that the NSA's bulk data collection on American citizens over the past 14 years was illegal. So why is Congress considering a bill that would legalize a program already deemed illegal? Unfortunately, that is what the USA FREEDOM Act does, and I believe codifies a program that violates the Constitution.” (
  • “I don’t think we should be engaged in war efforts Congress hasn’t taken even the time to vote on, and the President and some in Congress are now relying on authorizations passed in 2001 targeting al Qaeda and 2002 for the invasion of Iraq.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “MR. MATTHEWS: How do you cut Social Security? How do you save money there? OV. SANFORD: I think that you reconfigure it. If you look at basically Matagorda County, Texas, Brazoria County, Texas, they moved to a system of personal accounts wherein there was personal ownership as opposed to money going to a giant slush fund in Washington, D.C. And it has worked for those recipients. I think you've got to ultimately move to a system closer to that.” (
  • American Enterprise Institute “Under Sanford’s bill, the Social Security Administration would distribute a percentage of the surplus to individual retirement accounts for all workers born after 1945, based on the amount each worker and his employer have paid into the Social Security system.” (


Candidate Answer

Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.

Inferred Answer

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.

Unknown Answer

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.

Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Project Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

South Carolina Gubernatorial Election 2002 National Political Awareness Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.
Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legally available.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
Xf) Eliminate public funding for abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Other or expanded principles
State Budget: Indicate the funding levels you will support for the following general categories.
Slightly Increase Fundinga) Education (Higher)
Slightly Increase Fundingb) Education (K-12)
Maintain Funding Statusc) Environment
Slightly Increase Fundingd) Health care
Slightly Increase Fundinge) Law enforcement
Slightly Increase Fundingf) Transportation and Highway infrastructure
Greatly Decrease Fundingg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories
State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels you will support.
Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Greatly Decreaseb) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusc) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusd) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Estate taxes
Maintain Statusf) Gasoline taxes
Eliminateg) Income taxes (incomes below $75,000)
Eliminateh) Income taxes (incomes above $75,000)
Maintain Statusi) Property taxes
Maintain Statusj) Sales taxes
Maintain Statusk) Vehicle taxes
l) Other or expanded categories
Nom) Do you support increasing the cigarette tax to assist Medicaid programs?
Yesn) Should Internet sales be taxed?
Yeso) Other or expanded principles

A big part of my campaign is structural tax reform, including eliminating the state income tax over 18 years.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Yesa) Do you support the current limit of two, four-year terms for South Carolina governors?
Yesb) Do you support limiting the number of terms for South Carolina state senators and representatives?
Yesc) Do you support shortening the legislative session in South Carolina?
d) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative and gubernatorial candidates?
Yes1) Individual
Yes2) PAC
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Parties
Yese) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Nof) Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns that limit spending?
Nog) Do you support voting on-line?
Yesh) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?
Yesi) Do you support prohibiting media exit polling of voters until all polling locations in South Carolina are closed?
Noj) Should South Carolina recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Yesk) Should South Carolina restrict marriage to a union only between a man and a woman?
Yesl) Should South Carolina allow bars and restaurants to free-pour liquor rather than use minibottles?
Yesm) Other or expanded principles

I believe we need to bring sunshine to the political process in South Carolina. Soft money that is donated to political parties should be disclosed; it currently is not.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) to address crime.
a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and for hiring of additional prison staff.
Xb) Support contracting with private sector firms to build and/or manage state prisons.
Xc) Support the use of the death penalty in South Carolina.
Xd) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xe) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
Xf) Require all felons serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.
Xg) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
h) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Xi) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
Xj) Lower the .10 blood-alcohol-content limit defining drunk driving.
Xk) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
l) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation or disability be prosecuted as hate crimes.
m) Ban the use of racial profiling by law enforcement officers.
n) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
o) Increase state funding for additional security of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks.
p) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
Xa) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any participating school (public, private, religious).
c) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
d) Increase state funds for hiring additional teachers.
Xe) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
Xf) Support displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools.
Xg) Endorse teacher-led voluntary prayer in public schools.
Xh) Require public schools to administer high school exit exams.
Xi) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
j) Increase state funding to expand Head Start programs.
Xk) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
l) Support age-appropriate sexual education programs that teach about abstinence, contraceptives and HIV/STD prevention methods.
Xm) Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
Xn) Prioritize the use of education lottery revenues for K-12 education.
o) Prioritize the use of education lottery revenues for higher education.
p) Other or expanded principles
Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning employment.
Xa) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
Xb) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector to encourage investment and economic expansion.
c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding or relocating businesses.
d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
e) Increase state funds to provide child care for children of low-income working families.
f) Include sexual orientation in South Carolina's anti-discrimination laws.
g) Other or expanded principles
Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies' decisions on:
Noa) College and university admissions
Yesb) Public employment
Yesc) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
a) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
Xb) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused or abandoned.
Yesc) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
d) Should state environmental regulations be stricter than federal law?
Xe) Other or expanded principles

In regards to question "d," it depends on the specific regulation. For example, we should substantially raise fines for litter, while on other issues standards should be lower.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues.
a) Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
b) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Xc) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Xe) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
g) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health issues.
a) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms or state-funded care where necessary.
Xb) Transfer more existing Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
c) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xd) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
e) Support patients' right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied by their HMO.
f) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
g) Legalize physician-assisted suicide in South Carolina.
h) Increase state funding for training health workers to recognize and respond to the release of biological agents.
Xi) Use South Carolina's portion of the national tobacco settlement only for anti-smoking and health programs.
j) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.
a) Support current time limits on welfare benefits.
Xb) Increase employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
c) Provide tax incentives to businesses that hire welfare recipients.
d) Provide child care for welfare recipients who work.
e) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
f) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
Xg) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
h) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to expand state services to include the working poor.
i) Other or expanded principles
In a total of seventy-five (75) words or less, please explain what your two main legislative priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional government funding needed to implement these priorities.

Keeping South Carolina home to my and Jenny's four little boys is the theme of the campaign. The first legislative goal to advance this lies in reshaping South Carolina tax and spending policy. We spend 30% above the U.S. average on government, while income is only 80% the national average. Second, reform education. It's important that we get money to the frontline of the educational battlefield, which is teacher pay and the classroom. The resources...

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