Today we learned that South Carolina's wingnut Republican governor, Mark Sanford, has been missing since last week. The staff of the 2012 Republican presidential hopeful now says he is "safe and secure" and "just needed time to clear his head."

Reports Politico:

His communications director, Joel Sawyer, wouldn't disclose Sanford's location but said that before the governor left town last week "he let staff know his whereabouts and that he'd be difficult to reach."

"Should any emergencies arise between the times in which he checks in, our staff would obviously be in contact with other state officials as the situation warrants before making any decisions," said Sawyer.

Sanford's wife, Jenny, told The Associated Press Monday that she was unconcerned and that the second-term governor is "writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids."

Sawyer added: "The governor put in a lot of time during this last legislative session, and after the session winds down it's not uncommon for him to go out of pocket for a few days at a time to clear his head. Obviously, that's going to be somewhat out of the question this time given the attention this particular absence has gotten."

The South Carolina State Police told the press earlier today that they'd traced Sanford's cell phone to a tower in the Atlanta area. All of this obviously means that Mark Sanford is having an affair. We can only hope that it's a gay one. Does anyone know if Lindsey Graham and/or Charlie Crist were in Atlanta at any point over the past few days?

Update:Well here's another interesting twist in this sordid little tale—A representative for Sanford is now saying that "the governor is hiking the Appalachian trail," which obviously means that instead of having an affair, Sanford is getting raped by mountain people in the woods, so his Presidential aspirations are safe, for now, and all of this is David Letterman's fault, obviously.

Update 2: As it happens, while Sanford was enjoying the outdoors on the Appalachian, other (we think/assume/hope) people were observing Naked Hiking Day this past Sunday.

Staff Says Gov. Sanford Is Safe [Politico]