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SC Governor's Mom Praying for Son

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The State: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's mother said Saturday she is praying for her son as pressure mounts for a criminal probe into his secret trip to visit his lover in Argentina. "I love him and support him," Margaret Sanford, 83, said while sitting on a wooden picnic bench overlooking the Coosaw River outside her home. "I love him and I pray for him."

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Margaret Sanford said she had just returned from Columbia, where the official governor's residence is, but would not say whether she had spent time with him. She said the two have spoken since the scandal broke but her sentiments have been succinct. "I just say I love you and that's it," she said.

She declined to be photographed or taped during her brief conversation with The Associated Press.

After going missing for days, the married father of four admitted Wednesday to a yearlong affair with a woman who lives in Argentina. In a tearful, rambling press conference, the two-term Republican asked for forgiveness and explained that a long friendship with the woman had blossomed into romance a year ago, around the time of a state-funded trip to South America.

On Thursday, Sanford agreed to reimburse the state for part of the more-than $8,000 tab for that economic development trip, which enabled him to see his mistress in Argentina's capital city.

Exactly how much he needs to pay back has not yet been determined, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said Saturday.

State law enforcement is considering requests to investigate the trip, but the Republican attorney general, who is expected to run for governor, has not committed to a probe. The political domino effect of successfully pressuring Sanford to resign would temporarily elevate Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, also expected to run in 2010, to the top seat for the remainder of the term.

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