Calls are rising for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign over his extramarital affair and questionable travel on commercial, state and private planes.
Those who were on the fence are now calling for his resignation, and those who were demanding his resignation now say he should be impeached.
Even a leader of Sanford's own Republican Party says the criticism is growing.
“I think it has ratcheted up everybody in the whole process because now we're talking about some very serious violations of ethics law at a minimum,” state House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said.
Bingham's caucus meets this weekend and expects to discuss removing one of their own. GOP leaders are beginning to see if there's the political will – and the numbers – to send Sanford packing, but any impeachment proceeding likely wouldn't happen until lawmakers returned in January.
Sanford has said it's time to move on from the controversy, claiming politics are at the heart of efforts to railroad him out of office. He said he has much to offer in his remaining 16 months and quitting would be the easy way out.
Instead of stepping down, he's out on the road, telling civic and political groups he's sorry and seeking their help in pursuing an agenda that includes government streamlining and spending limits.
In July, it appeared Republicans were willing to let him stay put. At the time, they were dealing only with the news he disappeared for several days and led his staff to believe he was hiking along the Appalachian Trial. He returned from the trip to reveal he had been in Argentina with his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur.
Now, sentiment is turning and patience faltering. Ethics investigators have been asked to review issues raised by a state senator and in stories by The Associated Press about the governor's travel.
“It's one thing to have a personal issue. It's another thing to combine that with what could very well be some major ethics violations,” said Bingham, R-Columbia.
Sanford said Friday he would waive confidentiality of a State Ethics Commission probe, but it was unclear if an investigation had begun. Sanford said he didn't know and the agency's leader said he can't confirm it.
AP investigations have found Sanford used state planes for personal and political trips, which state law prohibits.