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South Carolina Republican Party censures Sanford; decides against call for resignation

In a closed conference call meeting that lasted more than three hours, South Carolina Republican Party leaders debated their options for responding to the scandal surrounding Governor Mark Sanford. Many high profile party leaders and state lawmakers hoped a strong message of resignation from the party would cause Sanford to step down. Instead, the State Executive Committee issued a brief resolution of censure admonishing Sanford for failing to maintain the party's standards and breaching the public's trust by having an affair and lying to cover it up. The resolution also states it will be the South Carolina Republican Party's last word on the matter, barring further revelations from the Governor. State party chairwoman Karen Floyd says the past two weeks have been "divisive" and "disappointing for Republicans." But she says the party's decision to censure Sanford closes that chapter. Impeachment also appears unlikely, since South Carolina lawmakers so far lack the support to begin proceedings. Governor Sanford has said he plans to serve out the remainder of his term.