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South Carolina Gov. Sanford officially requests stimulus funds

South Carolina's public fight over $700 million of federal stimulus money officially ended Monday.

Gov. Mark Sanford formally requested the money from Washington — after months of turmoil in the General Assembly and the courts — in a long letter cloaked in his disapproval.

At the same time, Sanford, whom the state Supreme Court last week forced to accept the money over his objections, withdrew his federal lawsuit seeking to block the funds, as promised.

But he was handed an economic report showing a 35.5 percent May drop in state revenues.

Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom said state revenues are down 12.8 percent, or $756 million, overall for the year, a sign the national recession has South Carolina in a bind that harms its ability to pay for government.

That all came on a hot June day when Sanford's critics – most of them Democrats – took to the streets in four cities around the state, including a rally at the State House in Columbia, to urge the governor to create jobs.

"We need dedication from Governor Sanford," said middle school art teacher Patricia McCormick of Columbia, who said she came to the State House rally to speak for public school pupils across the state who cannot speak for themselves.

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