As a U.S. Representative in the 1990s, Mark Sanford often slept on an office futon instead of renting a Washington apartment. That kind of conspicuous frugality helped him get elected Governor of South Carolina in 2002. But a growing chorus of critics, including leaders of his own G.O.P., fear that his thrift has brought the state's economy to a standstill. This summer Standard & Poor's lowered South Carolina's coveted AAA-bond rating to AA+, citing unemployment of 6.3% and a per capita income ($27,172) stuck in the nation's bottom fifth. The state had just lost its bid for a $500 million Airbus plant; Sanford was widely accused of making a miserly effort to lure the aerospace giant.
Business leaders are losing patience with Sanford's vetoes of budget items like trade centers and tourism marketing. Even G.O.P. bosses charge that he is worse at economic development than at grandstanding, as when he visited the legislature last year carrying piglets to protest what he considered pork-barrel spending.