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Joe Cunningham: Identity Politics Is Tricky

“Desperately searching …”

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After doing their level best not to let voters know a black female was running for their gubernatorial nomination this year, South Carolina Democrats are now desperate to find one … in the No. 2 slot.

How “progressive” of them, right?

Former U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham – the newly minted Democratic nominee for governor of South Carolina – is desperately seeking a black female candidate to serve as his 2022 lieutenant gubernatorial nominee.

The problem? His first choice for the job – state senator Mia McLeod – told him “hell to the no,” according to sources familiar with the search process. That rebuke has left Cunningham scrambling to fill this spot with a woman of color – which party elites believe is essential in turning out Democrats “core constituencies” in the November 2022 election against governor Henry McMaster and lieutenant governor Pamela Evette of Ohio.

“They’ve been desperately searching for ‘any’ black woman to be his lieutenant governor since way before the primary,” one source told me Thursday morning. “And they’re still desperately searching.”


Cunningham vanquished McLeod in a low-profile primary on June 14. That race was marred by allegations that Democrats suppressed the minority vote – which comprises approximately 60 percent of the primary electorate in the Palmetto State.

Does it matter whom Cunningham chooses?

No …

No Democrat has won a top-of-the-ticket race in the Palmetto State this millennium. The last person to do so? The late Fritz Hollings, who defeated GOP congressman Bob Inglis in 1998 to secure his final term in the U.S. Senate. No Democrat has won a statewide election in South Carolina since 2006 – when Jim Rex narrowly won the state superintendent of education.

Rex later bailed on the Democratic party, incidentally …

The math for Cunningham is simple: He cannot run to the center because he would lose the left. And he cannot run to the left because he would lose the center.

A former “ocean engineer” (and lobbyist) from Kentucky, Cunningham was elected to the Palmetto State’s first congressional district in 2018 but lost his reelection bid two years ago to Republican Nancy Mace.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: FITSNews)

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 Durham Bulls’ lid pictured above).

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