Former Lowcountry congressman enters race for SC governor

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WSAV) — Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham has announced he will vie for his party’s nomination for the 2022 South Carolina governor’s race.

Cunningham made his announcement to The Post and Courier on Sunday, followed by a three-minute-long campaign video shared online Monday.

“The challenges we face aren’t because of our people,” Cunningham says in the video. “They are because of the politicians. And after 20 years of trying to do the same thing, it’s time for something different, something new, which is why I’m announcing that I am running for governor of South Carolina because my son and your kids deserve better.”

Cunningham explains his platform in the video, which includes expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, fixing state roads and expanding voting rights.

“And how about this? Let’s pass term limits to kick out the politicians in Columbia who have let us down for way too long.”

Cunningham served one term representing the Lowcountry in the U.S. House before losing his 2020 reelection bid to Republican Nancy Mace.

This time around, he is taking no time to challenge the incumbent and his work during the pandemic.

“People all across our state have been knocked down. Lives have been lost, businesses closed, jobs are gone. Despite all that, our leaders in Columbia are focused on this: passing one of the most extreme abortion bills in America, making it harder for African-Americans to vote, and easier to carry these (guns) in public,” says Cunningham in the video. “And the worst part is Governor McMaster has been cheering them on every step of the way. It’s embarrassing.”

So far, Cunningham joins Democratic activist Gary Votour in the race.

The winner will face an uphill challenge to defeat Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed Cunningham’s candidacy during an interview Monday.

“Joe is a hard worker, he’s a nice guy. As a Republican I would take his candidacy seriously,” said Graham. “I think he would take the state in a different direction than I would prefer it to go. His politics are different — but in terms of being a good person, in terms of being a hard worker, he will do the hard work.”

“I think Governor McMaster has done a good job. I will be supporting him,” the senator continued. “But that is a good get for the Democratic party. Joe will be a formidable opponent, but I think I have proven one thing. This is a pretty Republican state.”

No Republicans have currently filed to challenge the incumbent.

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