MS sanford arrington

The Second Death of Mark Sanford

On Tuesday June 12th, 2018, US Representative Mark Sanford (R-SC) lost his primary bid for reelection, in a hotly contested race which went to his rival, state representative Katie Arrington, who had been endorsed by Donald Trump. Although Sanford had an 87% record of voting with the White House on the issues, he had also been deprecating about some of the Commander-in-Chief’s more egregious Tweets and statements, and Trump had trashed him in a fit of presidential pique.


Flying home from his Summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump took the time to Tweet his endorsement of Arrington just hours before the polls closed. “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress.”


After Sanford went down to defeat, 46-50%, Trump couldn’t resist crowing over what he saw as his vital intervention on behalf of Arrington: “My political representatives didn’t want me to get involved in the Mark Sanford primary thinking that Sanford would easily win – but with a few hours left I felt that Katie was such a good candidate, and Sanford was so bad, I had to give it a shot.”

MS trump-tweet-sanford

Donald Trump’s Sanford-bashing Tweet – was it the deciding factor in the outcome?

This is not Sanford’s first political demise. In 2009, then Governor of South Carolina, he became embroiled in a domestic scandal when an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman became public, after Sanford had mysteriously disappeared from his post for several days, off on a romantic tryst, while aides scrambled to explain his absence. Upon his return, Sanford held a very awkward press conference to clarify his whereabouts. He had in fact not been “hiking on the Appalachian trail,” the story given out by aides when his absence was noted, but rather had flown off to Argentina to spend time with his mistress, whom he described as “the love of my life, my soul mate,” leaving not only his official duties but also his wife of 20 years and their four sons, the youngest just nine at the time. (This is the source of Trump’s “Argentina” jibe.) The resultant furor made national news for weeks.


Although Sanford did not resign his post, running out the clock on his second term, he was censured by the South Carolina legislature, and most people assumed that was the end of his political career. But Sanford’s first wife divorced him, he became engaged to his mistress, and in 2013 he was back on the ballot, as US Representative for South Carolina’s 1st district. He won that election, and has remained in Congress for three terms, until his ouster in Tuesday’s primary seems to have sunk his career a second time. Will he, Phoenix-like, rise from the ashes again?

MS sanford

Mark Sanford, former Governor of South Carolina and US Representative

Mark Sanford’s chart (born 28 May 1960, no time available) is very revealing, both of his political fortunes and his sexual issues. A useful determinant of these, among others, is asteroid Pecker, named for a director of the observatory in Nice, France, but functioning quite well in its English usage as a euphemism for penis. Pecker at 8 Aries is exactly squared to a Quasar at 8 Cancer, a type of deep space anomaly, which are among the brightest objects in the universe.


Astrologically, Quasars highlight whatever they contact, illumining it for all to see, like a beacon on a hilltop. So a combination of Pecker and a Quasar is obviously a really bad placement for anyone attempting to be discreet about sexual peccadilloes, and with Pecker also in sextile aspect to Sanford’s natal Sun at 7 Gemini, he never had much hope of maintaining his private’s privacy. Pecker is also conjoined with Chaos at 9 Aries, suggesting turmoil coming from that quarter, and is further conjunct asteroid Lust at 1 Aries on one side and Mars at 13 Aries on the other, which is itself conjunct asteroid Eros at 14 Aries. That’s quite a bundle of sexual energies. Pecker/Lust suggests out of control sexuality, while Mars/Eros indicates one who has an overdeveloped sense of passion and the romance of sexual adventurousness.


But it gets better. Sanford’s affair was with an Argentine woman named Maria, and asteroids Argentina and Maria both feature prominently in his birth chart and in the sky on June 24, 2009, when he made public his infidelity. In his birth chart, asteroid Argentina at 28 Pisces is exactly conjunct a Black Hole, indicating a potential for sudden, dramatic or unexpected reversals of the status quo in connection with that country or its citizens, and within orb of both Lust and Pecker.

MS sanford-and-chapur

Sanford with “soul mate” (and almost wife #2), Maria Chapur

Maria stands at 16 Capricorn, where she is inextricably linked with Sanford’s natal Saturn at 17 Capricorn, emblematic of his career and of the governor’s office which he held at the time. When he announced their affair, asteroid Maria in the sky had just returned to its natal position, and at 18 Capricorn was still conjoined both natal Maria and Saturn. Also here is TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Salacia at 15 Capricorn, from which we derive our word “salacious,” meaning lustful or lecherous, to convey undue emphasis on the sexual, indicating an inherent linkage between this energy and that of career (Saturn), bound up in a woman named Maria. In transit Maria’s wake was asteroid Wiener, another penis euphemism asteroid, at 16 Capricorn, exactly conjunct with natal Maria and further activating Saturn/Salacia. Asteroid Maria is also exactly sextile to natal asteroid Sanford at 16 Pisces, further binding the couple.


Asteroid Argentina at 20 Sagittarius was conjoined Sanford’s natal asteroid Aphrodite at 18 Sagittarius, representing flirtations and affairs of the heart (and also conjoined natal asteroid Marc at 21 Sagittarius, which in itself suggests Sanford is likely to be drawn to extramarital liaisons) and exactly sextile asteroid Damocles at 20 Aquarius in the sky, denoting the doom that had finally caught up with him. Transit Uranus, the planet ruling shocks, upsets and revelations, at 26 Pisces was just creeping up on his natal Argentina at the time. The Pecker/Saturn conjunction still forming in the sky was at 13/16 Virgo, squared natal Aphrodite and trine natal Maria/Saturn, with Pecker exactly inconjunct Sanford’s natal Mars at 13 Aries.


Transit Saturn at 16 Virgo exactly trined natal Maria and exactly opposed natal Sanford, while transit asteroid Jenny (for his wife) at 17 Cancer was exactly opposed natal Saturn at 17 Capricorn, prefiguring the loss through divorce that was to come (Saturn also rules the consort, or official spouse, which Jenny Sanford was, as First Lady of South Carolina). Natally, Jenny at 26 Taurus conjoins Venus at 0 Gemini, so at some point, this was likely a love match.

MS sanford jenny

Sanford with wife Jenny in happier times

Sanford was among the political figures who were very vocal in their condemnations of Bill Clinton’s similarly Pecker-inspired difficulties in the late ‘90’s. In an apparent act of celestial irony, asteroid Pecker had seemingly plucked this priggish pol from his position of power, but Sanford had an Act Two to follow.


On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, the political world was stunned by the victory of the disgraced former governor in a special election for US Representative from South Carolina’s 1st District. Sanford was in fact reclaiming the seat which began his political career in 1994, and was as much as nine points behind his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch (TV personality Stephen Colbert’s sister) as little as two weeks before the election. But he had moved into a statistical tie by the weekend before, and finished a surprising nine points ahead. Although the district is a reliably conservative one (Mitt Romney won it by more than 20 points in 2012), Colbert Busch had a campaign war chest of over a million dollars, more than five times that raised by the scandal-ridden Sanford.


Governor Sanford’s wife, Jenny, had divorced him after the revelation of his affair; that mistress had now become his fiancée. But even this attempt to regularize his domestic life (a year later he broke off their engagement, though the couple continue to spend time together) did not seem sufficient to overcome the bad taste left in the mouth of his constituents, appalled by their former governor’s behavior. However, special elections are driven by turnout more than most, and diehard conservative support in outlying counties of the district, where Sanford garnered 40 point victory margins, gave him the win.


Election Day showed a sky which was sensationally poised to describe the conflict, with amazingly close contacts between asteroids representing the contestants. Four asteroids with names matching the candidates walked right into the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square which dominated our world at that time. Asteroids Marc (alternate spelling of Mark) and Colbert joined exactly at 9 Libra, squared Pluto at 11 Capricorn and opposed Uranus at 10 Aries. Asteroid Busch at 13 Cancer and Sanford at 14 Cancer completed a Grand Cross, opposing Pluto and squaring Uranus. With such phenomenally close contacts and exact matches, picking a winner in advance was simply not possible, but in the final analysis the determining factor among PNAs may have been asteroid Elisabetha (for Elizabeth), which at 0 Pisces was conjoined Neptune at 5 Pisces, a planet known for bringing disappointment in its wake.


Additional support for Sanford may have been offered by transit Victoria, named for the Roman goddess of victory (and the root of our word) at 2 Virgo, conjunct Sanford’s natal Pluto at 3 Virgo, symbolizing both scandal and resurrection; these square natal Venus, denoting popularity, at 0 Gemini. Trining this was transit Washingtonia, his destination, at 1 Taurus. By itself, Washingtonia made quite a statement, just past opposition to its natal degree of 27 Libra, and more closely opposing Sanford’s natal Victoria at 2 Scorpio, also suggesting the win. Transit Carolina at 20 Libra squared natal Saturn at 17 Capricorn, indicating the official role Sanford would now perform for the state.

MS sanford concession

Sanford concedes his defeat in the 2018 primary election

When Sanford went down to defeat in the primary election on June 12th, the skies were similarly illustrative of the outcome. The Sun at 21 Gemini was paired with asteroid Arlington (closest match to Arrington, his opponent) at 16 Gemini, suggesting that the day was hers; these straddled Sanford’s natal Mercury, ruling the vote, at 19 Gemini. Arlington was squared transit Washingtonia at 15 Pisces, putting the nation’s capital squarely in her corner.


But also here is Neptune at 16 Pisces, which could suggest confusion or disappointment in the outcome. This seemed to have been reserved for Sanford, whose natal asteroid Sanford is exactly conjoined by Neptune currently, which is also sextile his natal Saturn, career and government work specifically, at 17 Capricorn. Another indication of devastation for Sanford is transit Marc’s exact conjunction with Pluto at 20 Capricorn, both still within orb of natal Saturn, which often brings loss or limitation. These are also squared to transit Sanford at 21 Libra, doubling down on the theme.


Katie Arrington’s victory is also prefigured by asteroid Kate at 28 Aries, which conjoins Uranus (upsets) at 1 Taurus and Victoria at 4 Taurus. Uranus here is exactly conjoined the Washingtonia placement for Sanford’s winning of the seat in 2013, upsetting that victory in a shocking reversal. Uranus also opposes Sanford’s natal Victoria at 2 Scorpio.

MS arrington

Katie Arrington, victorious on Election Day, with asteroid Kate conjunct Uranus and Victoria, and Arlington conjunct the Sun

The effect of asteroid Troemper on all this is most interesting. Arguably (at least in his own mind), it was Trump’s last-minute Tweet in support of Arrington that pulled her over the victory line. Natally, Sanford has Troemper at 28 Virgo conjoined Arlington (representing Arrington) at 24, suggesting their mutual admiration society and tag-team effect on Sanford’s life. By transit, Troemper at 24 Virgo was an exact match for natal Arlington, reinforcing their union in real time.


This seems like a final defeat for Sanford, but with is record of reinventing and resurrecting himself, who knows? He might even battle Trump for the nomination in 2020.



Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

Leave a comment