South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's admission of an extramarital affair last week was shocking to many Republicans, and now detailed revelations Tuesday about more meetings with his mistress have pushed many over the edge.
Calls for Sanford's resignation from both the GOP and Democrats -- which were relatively quiet initially -- have grown louder since the embattled governor confessed in an interview with the Associated Press that Maria Belen Chapur is his "soul mate" and that he has "crossed lines" with other women as well.
At least 12 of 27 state GOP senators have called on Sanford to step down, according to Sen. Jake Knotts, a longtime critic of the governor who was one of the first to raise opposition and call for a criminal investigation into whether Sanford used state money to finance his trips to see his 41-year-old mistress.
Some state Republican leaders are angry that the Sanford saga is distracting from the state's problems. At 12.1 percent, South Carolina's unemployment rate is the third-highest in the country. Knotts says companies are hesitant to bring business to the state anyway, and this scandal will further mar the state's reputation.
In a letter calling for Sanford's resignation, the heads of the Republican-controlled state senate wrote that the governor's affair and his taxpayer-funded trips have caused a "constitutional crisis."
"We must have strong leadership from a governor who is focused and trusted," they wrote. "Governor Sanford is neither."
Others say he's simply not able to lead the state.
"People don't give those kind of interviews knowing that the whole world is going to be listening in," Republican state Sen. Larry Martin, chairman of the Senate Rules committee, told ABCNews.com, referring to Sanford's revealing interview with The AP. "I just don't think he's being very rational. I think it's indicative of some serious issues on his part, emotional mental healthwise."
One of South Carolina's two Senate representatives in Washington and a good friend of the governor, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told Fox News today that he is one of the people "talking to him behind the scenes in hopes that he'll make the right decision about what needs to be done."
Expressing concern about Sanford's ability to continue as governor, DeMint said, "we will see some resolution in the next week."
DeMint's spokesperson said the senator is not commenting on whether Sanford should resign.
Sanford told The AP that he saw Chapur, a former producer, five times over the last year, including two romantic weekends in New York. He said the two met in 2001 at an open-air dance spot in Uruguay, but that the relationship did not turn physical until last year when he was on a trade trip to South America. The governor has agreed to return the money for that trip, even though he insists he didn't do anything wrong, and that he paid for all other trips to see his mistress in cash. However, on Wednesday, the governor took back a promise he made last week - to release financial records that he said would prove he did not spend state money to see his mistress.