COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Two state lawmakers, including a South Carolina gubernatorial candidate, traded barbs on social media Tuesday afternoon – and it all began with an endorsement.
South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford threw his support behind former U.S. Congressman Joe Cunningham in his bid for governor.
“This guy can really do it. He not only flipped a district that Trump won by 13 points, he went to Washington and broke through the partisan rancor and passed two bills into law,” said Rep. Rutherford.
But the endorsement sparked snarky comments from fellow Democrat and gubernatorial candidate Mia McLeod on Twitter.
“Birds of a feather… Good ole Todd endorses Joe bc I refuse to appoint his unqualified new wife as a Richland Co Magistrate,” she tweeted. “Now he can go back to barely holding on as minority leader, funding his mom in law’s nonprofit w/state $$ & using the state plane as his personal vehicle.”
Rep. Rutherford fired back, calling out the state Senator for attacking a fellow Black woman online. “Wow the first thing you do is attack a black woman? My wife met all the qualifications to be a magistrate — passed the test twice — yet you echo the same attacks used by racists to undermine all black women as “unqualified,”” he tweeted.
McLeod responded, “Next time, you probably shouldn’t cheat w/and marry the babysitter. How’s that for disrespecting black women? And since you know so much about MIA…maybe you can tell the people of SC why you were MIA when the SCGOP gerrymandered your House members out of their own districts.”
“That’s a lie and you know it,” replied Rutherford. “Since you’re talking about my ex-wife, why didn’t you support her making history as the 1st black woman to be elected Richland County Coroner? You don’t stand up for black women, you only stand for yourself.”
Rep. Rutherford and Cunningham have seen eye-to-eye over myriad issues when it comes to South Carolina politics, including the fight to legalize marijuana, sports betting and expanding Medicaid. “I look forward to working with him to move our state into the future,” said Cunningham in his own tweet.
“The challenges we face in this state are real and deserve serious leadership. Failing schools, crumbling roads, hundreds of thousands without health coverage. I’ll continue to keep my campaign positive and focused on the issues because that’s what you deserve. Time to get to work,” said Cunningham.
Sen. McLeod will face Cunningham during a debate that has been scheduled for June 10th in Columbia. The two are vying for Democratic support in the June 14th state primary – the winner in that race will face incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster in November.
McLeod is the first Black woman to run for Governor in South Carolina’s history.