CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston’s former longtime mayor Joe Riley has endorsed Joe Cunningham in his bid to become South Carolina’s next governor.

Cunningham is competing against State Senator Mia McLeod in the Democratic primary, which will be held statewide on June 14. The winner in that race will face off against incumbent Governor Henry McMaster in November.

“Over the years I have watched Joe Cunningham show tremendous leadership for South Carolina and deliver meaningful change for our state and nation,” said Riley in his endorsement Thursday.

Riley, who said he first met Cunningham while he was a student at the College of Charleston more than 20 years ago, believed then the former U.S. Congressman had a bright future. “Little did I know I would be casting my vote for Joe to be my congressman nearly two decades later,” he said.

“At a time when our nation is more polarized than almost ever before, Joe kept his promises and provided the kind of bipartisan leadership that focused on getting things done for South Carolina,” Riley shared. “In just his first term in Congress, Joe was able to pass two of his bills through a divided Congress and signed into law by a Republican President – an impressive accomplishment for any elected official, much less a freshman lawmaker.”

Riley went on to say, “He kept his word by passing a bill out of the House to ban offshore drilling and he was ranked one of the most independent and effective members of Congress. Joe knows the importance of building coalitions and has demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle that is all too rare in today’s political climate.”

Riley said he believes Cunningham shares an “exciting vision” for South Carolina’s future.