CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham (D) held a press conference Thursday accusing his opponent, Governor Henry McMaster, of avoiding debates and being less than transparent with voters.

Cunningham brought along a visual aid — a chicken named ‘Henrietta’ — to let the public know what he thinks of McMaster.

“The reason we don’t trust our politicians is because they fail to show up,” he said. “They’re chicken. They hide behind TV ads and refuse to thoroughly debate their opponent on the merits of the issues.”

Cunningham noted that in his 2018 campaign, McMaster and challenger James Smith had two debates before the election. However, Cunningham said that McMaster has refused all but one debate invitation this season.

He also promised more transparency should he be elected, accusing the current state government of corruption.

The South Carolina Republican Party held a press conference in response to Cunningham’s remarks, accusing Cunningham of being shady and unqualified.

“The more we find out about Cunningham, the more questions we have. He’s Questionable Cunningham,” said SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick. He questioned Cunningham’s tax returns, affiliations, education and employment history, and ability to serve the people of South Carolina.

Cunningham refuted implications made by McKissick and once again called on McMaster to defend his positions in a public debate.

A spokesperson for McMaster’s campaign provided the following statement:

“This is a total joke – Joe Cunningham must have forgotten that in this very year he repeatedly refused to debate his trailblazing primary opponent until the Friday before the election. The last refuge of a desperate, failing, unserious candidate is hypocrisy and name calling, and Joe is on the run.”