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How loss might affect S.C. governor Sanford

The S.C. Supreme Court ruling that Gov. Mark Sanford must accept $700 million in disputed federal money could have wide-ranging consequences, Sanford said, though lawmakers believe little will change in the often-contentious relationship with the governor.

If lawmakers can force him to accept stimulus money, Sanford asked, what else can they force him to do?

“We really don’t have three branches of government,” Sanford said Thursday. “We have one.”

Over the past six months, Sanford has emerged as the nation’s staunchest critic of the federal stimulus package. He is the nation’s only governor to go to court over control of the money. Some conservatives think the move has put him among the Republicans who should seek to challenge President Obama in 2012.

Sanford found support from a number of areas in the state. But many S.C. parents and schools expressed anger at his position after schools lost $400 million this budget year in the midst of the nation’s worst-ever recession.

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