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Joe Cunningham Popped By Republicans For … Opposing Impeachment?

Democratic congressman hasn’t always been so apolitical …

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U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham of South Carolina won a district last fall that Republicans had held (in name anyway) for thirty-eight years. A district U.S. president Donald Trump carried in 2016 by a whopping 13.1 percentage points. A district that has emerged as the GOP’s top takeover target in 2020.

It is no surprise, then, that Cunningham is playing to the middle of the partisan spectrum during his first year representing the Palmetto State’s first congressional district … hoping to avoid being perceived as too “Democratic.” Or (gasp) liberal.

“Lowcountry over party,” has been Cunningham’s mantra.

Aided by overwhelmingly positive coverage from The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, Cunningham’s nonpartisan branding has thus far been remarkably successful. He has avoided any major missteps while also following through on his campaign promise to oppose the nomination of Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the U.S. House.

Meanwhile, GOP efforts to dent his popularity have … fallen flat.

This week Cunningham staked himself to additional centrist ground by not staking himself out on the issue of impeaching Trump.

“You’re talking about basically nullifying the election of 2016 and what voters voted for,” Cunningham told his favorite media outlet. “That’s not a conclusion you just jump to based upon tweets or popular opinion. It’s something that you have to take extremely seriously.”

Ironically, that is the view held by Pelosi … much to the chagrin of her party’s liberal base (especially after last week’s press conference by former U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller).

While Cunningham is currently adopting a “wait and see” tone towards impeachment, Republicans quickly pointed out that he hasn’t always felt that way on the subject.

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(DOMINION ENERGY)

Camille Gallo of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) issued a statement earlier this week arguing that the congressman should “take his own advice” on the matter.

“This weekend, when Joe Cunningham was asked about baseless impeachment, he hemmed and hawed saying the decision is, ‘not a conclusion you just jump to based upon tweets or popular opinion,” Gallo said. “But Joe did exactly that two years ago when he emotionally accused the President of conspiring with a foreign adversary with ZERO evidence. Come to think of it – Joe never apologized either.”

Gallo is referring to a 2017 tweet in which Cunningham accused Trump of colluding with Russian interests during the 2016 election – an allegation that has been widely discredited (although the issue of whether Trump obstructed justice appears to be an open question).

In a March 2019 interview with Roll Call, Cunningham admitted he erred in accusing Trump of collusion.

“Rushing to judgement without all the facts was a mistake,” he told reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.

While national Republicans look to land blows against Cunningham, a battle is brewing for the right to challenge him in 2020. As we noted last week, 2018 nominee Katie Arrington will not be a candidate next year and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton – a favorite of the national GOP – has also opted against a bid.

Similarly, three state senators – Tom Davis of Beaufort, Chip Campsen of Charleston and Larry Grooms of Berkeley County – have made it clear they are not running for the seat.

That leaves sophomore state representative Nancy Mace as the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination, although Mace’s candidacy is reportedly being undermined behind the scenes by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley.

In addition to Mace, financial advisor and Mount Pleasant, S.C. town councilwoman Kathy Landing is also eyeing the first district.

-FITSNews

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-FITSNews

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Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own letter to the editor (or guest column) via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.


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