I gotta say this for Mark Sanford. For a guy who–at least until recently–has a pretty serious Sugar Momma, he travels frugally. According to Ben Smith, the ten day trip to Buenos Aires he booked on June 10 appears to have been done with frequent flier miles.

On or around the day his wife asked him to move out, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford booked a ten-day trip to Buenos Aires, a person familiar with the governor’s travel plans told POLITICO.

Sanford booked the trip on Delta Air Lines on June 10, using the company’s SkyMiles program, the source said. He bought a ticket for June 18, returning June 28.

Though maybe he was thinking the whole Sugar Momma thing might be coming to an end soon…

But here’s the thing. As much as you don’t book a five day trip to do a painful break up with your mistress, you definitely don’t book a ten day trip to break up with your mistress. 

Which sorta suggests that when he went down there, he wasn’t going to break up with her. And at least according to reports, while Sanford’s father-in-law and wife knew of his affair–as well as "the Family"–the State had not yet verified his emails with his former staffer or office. So the affair wasn’t, necessarily, going to get beyond his immediate family and the Christian Conservatives counseling him on this.

Here’s the updated "Family Affair" timeline:

June 10: Sanford books flight to Buenos Aires, gets kicked out by wife

June 11: Doug Hampton sends letter to Fox, via FedEx

June 12: Fox News receives Hampton’s letter 

June 15: Doug Hampton emails letter to Fox

June 16: Ensign admits affair

June 18: Sanford disappears to Buenos Aires (telling his staff he might be hiking in the Appalachian trail)

June 19: Publication of letter suggests ties to the Family

June 24: Actual return date

June 28: Planned return date for Sanford

Now, frankly, seeing the timeline today, I’m less convinced than I was yesterday there’s a link between the timing of the two. Most likely (as Smith suggests) either Sanford booking the flight led to getting kicked out by his wife, or vice versa. And the latter scenario–that she kicked him out and said, "don’t come back till you’ve broken it off," at which point he booked the flight. (But ten days!?!?!?)

In any case, Sanford’s back with his wife today. So I guess the two of them can work together toward rebuilding his political career their marriage.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.