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Joe Cunningham Launches Anti-Gerrymandering Campaign to Defeat Proposed SC Congressional Map

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On Monday, former Congressman and current Democratic candidate for governor Joe Cunningham, announced the launch of “Keep Charleston Together,” an anti-gerrymandering campaign that will educate voters about the proposed gerrymandered congressional map and help connect Charleston residents to their state legislators to urge them to keep Charleston in one Congressional district.

Last month, state lawmakers unveiled the proposed Congressional map, which further splits the Charleston region between the First Congressional District and the Sixth Congressional District in an effort to make the First District safer for Republicans. Cunningham delivered testimony (see video below) that raised serious concerns about the substance of the map and who ultimately drew it.

“The proposed congressional map is gerrymandering at its worst,” said Cunningham. “It splits Charleston County into two districts – one for white residents and another for black residents. It takes residents of West Ashley and Johns Island out of the Charleston-based district and puts them in a Columbia-based district over 100 miles away. And it’s all for two main reasons: to protect incumbents and make it nearly impossible for Republicans to lose. Whatever your political affiliation, there should be no tolerance for cheating. And that’s exactly what this is.”

Cunningham said gerrymandering is the leading contributor to the division in our country.

“Partisan gerrymandering is the leading cause of hyperpartisanship and dysfunction in our politics,” said Cunningham. “And when I was elected to Congress, I saw up close and personal how gerrymandering has divided our country. When you eliminate competitive general elections, you’re left with the most extreme voices in our society making laws and setting the agenda. It’s no wonder Washington can’t get anything done because it was designed that way.”

The First Congressional District was long considered a safe Republican district but has become increasingly competitive over the last decade until Cunningham’s upset win in 2018. Cunningham says this map intentionally makes SC-01 more difficult for a Democrat to win.

“This is the kind of map that produces people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert in Congress,” said Cunningham. “As the Republican Party continues to move to the far right and become the party of Donald Trump instead of Ronald Reagan, the most extreme people in our country are starting to win primaries. And without competitive general elections, it’s nearly impossible for them to lose in November. Competitive general elections and competitive districts provide an incredibly important check on that extremism.”

Cunningham says the goal of Keep Charleston Together is to educate and mobilize voters who are being used as pawns in a political game.

“We want Charleston residents to know that this map was designed to mute their voices, eliminate accountability, and fan the flames of extremism in our politics,” said Cunningham. “And I’m not about to let that happen in my own backyard.”

Cunningham is launching a website, www.KeepCharlestonTogether.com, which will educate voters on the new map and partisan gerrymandering and connect residents to their state legislators to urge them to keep Charleston in the same congressional district. Cunningham will also be organizing town halls throughout the Charleston area to raise awareness of the map, and his campaign will immediately begin contacting voters throughout the Lowcountry to alert them of the plan to move them into another district.

“We will not stop until this map is defeated and we keep Charleston together,” said Cunningham.


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