Embattled South Carolina governor Mark Sanford may have won an unexpected reprieve.
A panel of state lawmakers voted by 6-1 today
not to move forward with impeachment charges, which stemmed from the the governor's legendary Argentinean romp this summer, as well as his use of state aircraft. The legislators said Sanford's misdeeds -- among them, leaving the state for five days to visit his mistress, without notifying the lieutenant governor of his absence -- were not so serious as to merit his removal from office.
Sanford could still face an official reprimand, but such a move would be seen as a slap on the wrist for the one-time presidential hopeful.
Sanford will be forced out of office in January 2011, thanks to term limits.