Joe Cunningham Seeks To Be South Carolina’s First Democratic Governor In Almost Two Decades

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Former South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham launched a bid to be his state’s first Democratic governor in nearly two decades.

Cunningham, 38, represented South Carolina’s 1st congressional district for a single term and officially announced his bid Monday, though he has hinted at his plans to run for weeks. If elected he would be the first Democrat to run successfully since former Gov. Jim Hodges, who won in 1998 but lost reelection after a single term.

In his announcement video, Cunningham emphasized his independent nature in Congress, and said that South Carolina had been plagued by career politicians.

“The challenges we face aren’t because of our people, they’re because of our politicians,” he said. “[Republican Gov.] Henry McMaster has been in office 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.” (RELATED: Joe Cunningham Cracks Open A Beer During Final House Speech)

Cunningham said that if elected he would prioritize expanding Medicaid, reinvesting in public education and raising teacher pay. He also pledged to fix South Carolina’s roads, adopt police reform, voting rights expansions and a $12 minimum wage, and called for term limits to “kick out the career politicians in Columbia who have let us down for way too long.”

If Cunningham wins the Democratic primary, he will face McMaster in November 2022.

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