• The Associated Press

Cunningham picks former fighter pilot as SC gov running mate

Joe Cunningham has chosen Tally Parham Casey, a civil litigator who flew fighter jets during three combat tours over Iraq, to be his running mate in his quest to become South Carolina’s first Democratic governor in 20 years.

“She’s one of the most impressive people that I’ve ever met,” said Cunningham, who previewed his lieutenant governor pick for The Associated Press ahead of a formal announcement Monday. “She’s fought for our freedoms abroad, and she wants to continue fighting for those freedoms, so that’s why I put her on the ticket, and she’s agreed to do it.”

Cunningham, 40, planned to introduce Casey, 52, at an event in Greenville, her hometown.

This is the second gubernatorial election cycle in which contenders for South Carolina’s top two executive offices run on the same ticket. In years past, governors and their lieutenant governors were elected separately, meaning that sometimes the politicians clashed ideologically or were from different parties.