• Joe Cunningham

Joe Cunningham Wins Gubernatorial Debate Against Henry McMaster

This evening, the people of South Carolina saw Joe Cunningham easily win the debate against Governor Henry McMaster.

Cunningham called out McMaster’s extreme position on abortion, his failure to suspend the gas tax amid skyrocketing gas prices, and his refusal to support legalization of marijuana for medical use.

“Henry McMaster’s position on abortion is the most extreme example of government overreach,” Cunningham said, “He wants to ban abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or life of the mother. I think women should have the freedom to make their own medical decisions without the government interfering.”

Cunningham touted his plans to boost the economy by bringing in new streams of revenue and working to eliminate the state income tax. He criticized Governor McMaster for giving corporate handouts to billionaires and called on the Governor to return the money he took from Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper. 

“$35 million was pissed away on an interstate exchange to nowhere that did nothing but raise the property value of one person,” Cunningham said. “We shouldn’t have to bribe corporations with handouts to come here, we should invest in our people to make South Carolina a place where people want to come.” 

Cunningham blasted McMaster for failing to address the teacher shortage. “They called a special session, not to fix the teacher shortage or improve our roads, but to rip away freedoms from half our people,” he said. “I’ve gone across the state talking to teachers and what they’re telling me is that career politicians have failed them.” 

Cunningham discussed his Congressional experience, including legislation he sponsored to close the Charleston loophole. “Right now our state has the highest violent crime rate we’ve ever seen, and that’s because of people with guns that should never have had access to them in the first place,” Cunningham said. “I reject this notion that we have to choose between protecting the Second Amendment and having common sense gun safety laws.” 

Cunningham called out McMaster for the state’s high crime rate and called for reform in how we elect our judges. “These judges that are letting criminals out on the street have been appointed by Governor McMaster. This is his crime rate,” he said. 

Cunningham spoke about his plan to legalize marijuana. “Call me old-fashioned, but I believe if you put it all on the line to serve our country and come home with life-changing injuries, you should be able to get the medical freedom you deserve,” he said. “Those veterans begged and pleaded with the Governor to allow them access to effective medical treatment, and he turned his back on them–so they came to me. And I promised I would never let them down.”

Cunningham slammed Governor McMaster for his position on marriage equality. “In 2022, our Governor wants to ban same-sex marriage. I am running to protect freedom. I don’t care who you love and I don’t think politicians should be able to tell you who you have the freedom to marry.” 

Cunningham also touted his bipartisan record. “I was the first Democrat to say President Biden shouldn’t run for reelection. I was the first Democrat to tell Nancy Pelosi I wasn’t going to vote for her for Speaker. And I stood up to President Trump too,” he said. “This is what it means to be independent. I may be a Democrat, but I’m not a cheerleader.”

Cunningham said his priority on day 1 would be to expand Medicaid to inject millions into the economy, expand healthcare for veterans, and create 40,000 new jobs.