Washington: Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a critic of US President Donald Trump, on Sunday became the third Republican to challenge him in the party’s primary contest for the 2020 presidential race, reports said.

“I’m here to tell you now that I am going to get in,” Sanford said in a TV interview, the BBC reported.

Sanford, 59, joins former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and conservative radio host Joe Walsh in the bid to challenge Trump for the nomination, though the President remains the favourite choice of the party.

Contending that the Republican Party had lost its way, he told Fox News that it was necessary to “have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican”.

Sanford also criticised the current state of deficits and spending, saying that Trump, who “has called himself the king of debt”, has “a familiarity and comfort level with debt” which was, in his view, leading the nation in “the wrong direction”.

The Republican National Convention, at which the nominee will be formally chosen, will take place in August next year after a series of state primary elections and party caucuses, though some states, including Sanford’s South Carolina, have decided not to hold primaries, so as to pave way for Trump’s renomination.