CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Two of the top Democrats hoping to earn their party’s nomination in the South Carolina governor’s race are sparring over attending a televised debate ahead of the June 14 primary.
State Senator Mia McLeod challenged former U.S. Congressman Joe Cunningham on Tuesday to participate in a televised debate before voters head to the polls.
“I’m sure he, like any serious candidate, will agree that the people of South Carolina deserve to hear where we stand on the issues that matter most,” McLeod said in her announcement, noting that a debate scheduled for June 1st was “abruptly canceled.”
No other debate has been planned for the candidates ahead of the statewide primary.
Cunningham, though, fired back saying “I’ve debated every opponent I’ve ever had and that’s not going to change this year.” He went on to suggest a debate in Columbia while all five Democratic candidates attend a convention by the South Carolina Democratic Party, held the weekend of June 10.
“How about a televised debate Friday night before the Blue Palmetto Dinner? I’ll be the first to commit. Who’s in?” he asked.
McLeod, who is in the Lowcountry for a ‘get out the vote’ rally on Thursday, responded to the former Congressman claiming he lied to pastors in Greenville after the two had previously committed to their June 10th debate due to schedule conflicts.
“One of many you’ve canceled w/Black voters. Said your schedule was full but the reality is—YOU’RE FULL OF IT,” said McLeod in a tweet. “And since you finally stopped running…I’M THERE. BRING IT.”
The South Carolina Democratic Party later announced it will produce a debate with SC ETV prior to the statewide primary.
“The staff of the SCDP has continued to work to negotiate a debate. We are excited that the people of South Carolina will get to hear from our candidates for Governor. Most important, we look forward to them displaying their vision for a better South Carolina”, said Democratic Party Chair, Trav Robertson, Jr.
A date for that debate has not been set.
Carlton Boyd, Calvin McMillan and William Williams are also running to appear on the Democratic ticket in the June 14 primary. The winner in that race will compete against incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster in the November 8 election.