By Brett McLaughlin (Contact / Staff Bio)

Upstate Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Seneca, has individually called on Gov. Mark Sanford to resign his position, calling Sanford’s continued presence in the governor’s office a “major distraction” to the state realizing its potential.

Sandifer had a two-page letter delivered to Sanford’s office Wednesday afternoon.

Prior to the letter, Sandifer had been vocal in his criticism of Sanford and had urged him to step down. However, Sandifer said he had not put his request in writing other than to sign a letter from the House Republican Caucus that called for Sanford’s resignation.

The governor has been under increasing pressure to step down since admitting to an extra marital affair on June 24, shortly after returning from five days with his mistress in Buenos Aries.

In his letter, Sandifer did not refer to the affair, but to actions by the governor leading up to his public admission.

“As I have weighed the seriousness of your acknowledged action, I cannot help but be reminded that in a military or civilian position of leadership, dereliction of duty would be grounds for immediate termination,” he wrote. “Dereliction of duty is exactly what you committed when you left the country for five days without notifying a proper chain of command or providing a readily operable means of communication with you. You compounded this problem further by allowing your own staff to mislead the public and other officials of the state.”

Sandifer said he was writing as chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, saying he has spoken with business leaders across the state, nation and a few foreign countries, who have told him that Sanford’s continued presence as governor “will be a giant impediment to any company locating in our state.”

“To invest and create jobs in a state, businesses need to be confident that the government is running efficiently and productively rather than being mired in scandal and disarray,” he wrote.

Sandifer said the current economy requires a governor who can focus on the issues that matter to South Carolinians and who does not have “serious distractions that get in the way of good and effective leadership.”

The Seneca-based representative said he has been approached by constituents in the doctor’s office, barbershop, convenience store and restaurant asking why the governor has not stepped down.

“I implore you to put our state and its people ahead of your own wishes and to resign … That is the only way for us to begin the healing process.”

Sandifer said late Wednesday that he had not gotten a response to his letter and that he didn’t expect a direct response from Sanford.