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It's official: Joe Cunningham announces campaign for SC governor

Former US Representative, the Charleston Democrat served South Carolina's 1st District from 2019-2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Democrat Joe Cunningham has officially launched his campaign for South Carolina governor. The former US Representative from Charleston will formally challenge incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican.

In a 3-minute campaign video, Cunningham says, "The challenges we face aren’t because of our people, they’re because of our politicians. 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.”

Cunningham believes McMaster and the legislature have confused priorities as they focus on partisan politics -- such as abortion bans, restrictive voting laws and loosening gun laws -- rather than advancing education, improving infrastructure and healthcare.

Cunningham represented South Carolina's 1st Congressional District in Washington, DC, after flipping that district in 2018 from one that had been held by Republicans for 40 years and that Donald Trump had won by 13 points in the 2016 presidential race.

But the GOP targeted his district as one to flip back in 2020, and they succeeded, as Nancy Mace narrowly edged out Cunningham for the seat.

The candidate says as governor, his priorities would 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 is also pledging not to raise taxes.

Video: Joe Cunningham's final speech on the floor of the U.S. House 

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