IS SANFORD MISSING?…. This is probably nothing, but it certainly seems odd.

The whereabouts of Gov. Mark Sanford have been unknown to state officials since Thursday, and some state leaders are questioning who is in charge of the executive office.

Neither the governor’s office nor the State Law Enforcement Division, which provides security for governors, has been able to reach Sanford after he left the mansion in a black SLED Suburban SUV, said Sen. Jake Knotts and three others familiar with the situation but who declined to be identified.

Sanford’s last known whereabouts were near Atlanta, where a mobile telephone tower picked up a signal from his phone, authorities said.

First lady Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press today her husband has been gone for several days and she doesn’t know where he is.

Mark Sanford’s wife doesn’t know where he is? Neither do the state officials responsible for his security? What’s more, both the governor’s personal and professional phones have been turned off, and messages have gone unreturned since Thursday.

The governor’s wife said the governor needed some time away “to write something.” Sanford’s office issued a statement today saying that Sanford decided to “recharge” after the legislative session, and has decided to “work on a couple of projects that have fallen by the wayside.”

South Carolina’s lieutenant governor said he also didn’t know where Sanford is, but added that he has not been given any temporary power.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a Republican, said in a statement, “I was recently made aware that Governor Sanford has frequently been eluding SLED agents and disappearing at odd times…. As the head of our state, in the unfortunate event of a state of emergency or homeland security situation, Governor Sanford should be available at all times to the chief of SLED.”

I’m sure someone is responsible for running the state of South Carolina. For now, it’s not altogether clear who’s actually doing the job.

Update: Chris Cillizza added, “[P]ulling a disappearing act like this — whatever the reason — is a decidedly odd move for someone who is seen as a likely presidential candidate in 2012.”

Second Update: Fortunately, it appears that Sanford is safe and sound. The governor’s communications director said Sanford let his “staff know his whereabouts,” though he would not say where the governor actually is. There’s also no explanation, at least not yet, as to why the governor’s wife, lieutenant governor, and security detail did not know where’s he been since Thursday.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.