Cunningham joins SC Democrats unhappy with US House proposal

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 5:30 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Former Congressman and current gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham criticized proposed new maps for U.S. House seats in South Carolina.

Cunningham, who in 2018 became the only Democrat to flip a U.S. House seat in South Carolina in 35 years, was one of several people who spoke before members of the Senate Redistricting Subcommittee Monday on South Carolina’s proposed new Congressional map. Every member of the public who spoke at the meeting was unsparing in their criticism of the proposal.

Cunningham asked senators to reject the new maps, saying they appeared to be drawn by a partisan hack to help Republicans win.

“If gerrymandering was an art, this proposed map would be a Picasso,” Cunningham said.

Democratic senators say they want more information about how staff members came up with the proposed new maps for U.S. House seats before they can support them.

The new maps didn’t make wholesale changes in South Carolina’s seven U.S. House districts, but the biggest changes are around Charleston where more white and likely Republican voters were moved from the majority Black 6th District represented by Democrat Jim Clyburn and into the 1st District represented by Republican Nancy Mace.

Mace defeated Cunningham in his first re-election bid in 2020.

The proposed new map would leave South Carolina with no competitive seats, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which said this proposal would solidify the current breakdown of six Republicans and one Democrat representing South Carolinians on Capitol Hill for years to come.

The full Senate will reconvene in Columbia next Monday afternoon to take up redistricting.

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