Cunningham launches bid for SC Governor

3 mins read

From staff reports

Former U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham (D-SC) officially launched his campaign for Governor of South Carolina on Monday. In a 3-minute announcement video, Cunningham decries the career politicians who have failed South Carolina on issues ranging from education to infrastructure and healthcare to voting rights.

“The challenges we face aren’t because of our people, they’re because of our politicians,” Cunningham said in the video. “Henry McMaster has been a politician longer than I’ve been alive. His failures have held our state back for far too long. And after 20 years of trying the same thing, it’s time for something different – something new.”

In his video, Cunningham says that instead of focusing on helping our state get through the challenges of the last year, Governor McMaster and his allies in the legislature have been focused on everything else: abortion bans, making it harder to vote, and loosening our gun laws.

“Governor McMaster has spent the last year checking off his partisan wish list instead of tackling the real problems in our state,” Cunningham said. “South Carolina desperately needed a strong leader over the last year but all we had was a weak politician with messed up priorities.”

According to his release, Cunningham’s priorities as governor will include expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay and reinvesting in public education, fixing South Carolina’s roads, passing police reform, expanding voting rights, closing the Charleston gun loophole, tackling climate change, passing term limits for legislators, and raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour.

Cunningham also pledges as Governor to not raise taxes on South Carolinians.

The Charleston Democrat made history in 2018 when he flipped a district that Donald Trump won by 13 points in 2016 and had been held by Republicans for 40 years. That same year, he overperformed the Democratic nominee for Governor, James Smith, by 3.5 points in the First District. Smith ultimately won 46 percent of the vote statewide.

In 2020, Cunningham narrowly lost his re-election bid to Republican Nancy Mace by a single point in a district Donald Trump won by six points. Cunningham served South Carolina’s First Congressional District from 2019 to 2021 where he was ranked one of the most independent members of Congress. He currently practices law in Charleston.

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