In the last 24 hours, in both actions and words, Charleston Democrat Joe Cunningham dropped hint after hint that he’s eyeing a run for South Carolina governor.
Cunningham, who hasn’t publicly announced his candidacy, filed paperwork Wednesday with the S.C. Ethics Commission that shows he’s raising money for a possible gubernatorial run.
The paperwork is a necessary precursor to mounting formal challenge against incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.
A spokesman for Cunningham declined to comment.
Despite the silence on Wednesday, Charleston’s former congressman on Tuesday night sounded like a candidate waiting in the wings as he addressed Democrats in Rock Hill
At a York County Democratic Party social, Cunningham told the crowd that South Carolina “deserves a lot better” than the Republican governor it has.
“He’s a career politician — a very bad career politician,” Cunningham told nearly 50 attendees. “He’s been a politician longer than I’ve been alive. He’s wanted his entire life just to have the title of governor but not to do the work.”
The crowd, which huddled under a small pavilion near Rock Hill’s Boyd Hill Recreation Center to hear Cunningham speak, cheered in response.
Asked if he was laying the groundwork for a possible run for governor, Cunningham responded, “I’m strongly considering it.”
Since leaving office in January, Cunningham has been crisscrossing the state, giving speeches at county Democratic conventions and making virtual appearances with civic and political groups.
In a setting located far from his Charleston home, Cunningham called Rock Hill “a pivotal part of the state.”
“I think that this is going to be a critical part of the electorate for success in any election statewide in 2022,” he said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.