Aided by a racially motivated voter suppression campaign, former U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham cruised to victory over state senator Mia McLeod – dramatically outspending his rival in this low-turnout affair.
The “ocean engineer” turned lobbyist was called the winner of the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary by The Associated Press at approximately 10:20 p.m. EDT. With nearly 70 percent of precincts reporting, Cunningham had received 91,476 votes (or 56.5 percent of ballots cast). McLeod had 49,489 votes (or 30.6 percent of ballots cast).
Cunningham spent $1.54 million on his primary victory – more than three times the $425,000 McLeod spent, according to pre-election reports from the S.C. Ethics Commission (SCSEC).
All told, Cunningham raised nearly $2 million on his bid. McLeod raised just shy of $500,000.
Did it really matter which candidate the Democrats nominated against McMaster?
As I have frequently pointed out, Cunningham does not have a path to victory in the staunchly GOP Palmetto State – which saw a red storm sweep across its political landscape in 2020 (and is likely to see an even bigger one hit it this fall if national trends hold).
DON’T MISS A STORY …
No Democrat has won a top-of-the-ticket race in the Palmetto State this millennium. The last person to do it? The late Fritz Hollings, who defeated GOP congressman Bob Inglis for his final term in the U.S. Senate in 1998. In fact, no Democrat has won a statewide election in South Carolina since 2006 – when Jim Rex defeated Karen Floyd in the race for state superintendent of education.
Rex later bailed on the Democratic party, incidentally …
Cunningham apparently knows he doesn’t have a chance in the fall, which may be why he elected to get sloshed at his victory party prior to giving his acceptance speech …
This is a developing story … please check back for updates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Buffalo Bisons’ lid pictured above).
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