COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster launched a new campaign ad Tuesday calling out what his campaign called “frat boy” behavior by opponent Joe Cunningham.
The near-comical campaign ad highlights moments during Cunningham’s term as U.S. Congressman and his run for South Carolina governor, including bringing a beer onto the U.S. House floor and sounding an airhorn during congressional hearings.
Cunningham opened a beverage called “Joint Resolution” from a DC-based brewing company while delivering a farewell speech on the House floor, but did not drink the alcohol.
The new ad also touches on Cunningham’s pro-marijuana stance, something the former Congressman believes could help alleviate the tax burden on South Carolinians and improve infrastructure, saying “Joe loves weed, and voted against the police” in the new ad.
During a debate on medical marijuana in the state earlier this year, Governor McMaster never publicly said whether he was for or against the legislation and noted in the past that he will be on board with whatever law enforcement favors.
“While Governor McMaster continues to announce new jobs and investment, and fight for teacher pay raises, law enforcement pay raises, and veterans, Joe Cunningham will continue to run for cover from tough questions and tough issues – because he knows the truth is voters will choose their governor based on results, not TikTok views,” said Mark Knoop, McMaster-Evette campaign manager.
In a Twitter thread Tuesday afternoon, Cunningham said “I’m not happy that he lied about my position on the police but that’s not surprising coming from a governor who is currently responsible for South Carolina’s highest violent crime rate in history.”
He also shared photographs that claimed to be from the governor’s fraternity days.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Cunningham-Casey campaign, Tyler Jones, responded to the ad saying, “Henry McMaster now realizes his dangerous support for a total abortion ban with no exceptions may very well cost him this election and end his 40-year political career … he is resorting to attacking and lying about Joe Cunningham to distract voters from his plot to rip freedom away from half of South Carolina’s population.”
Jones said he believes McMaster is “so out of touch” with South Carolinians that he, “thinks highlighting Joe’s support for marijuana legalization in an ad is a bad thing.”
In his first gubernatorial campaign ad, released over the summer, Cunningham took aim at Gov. McMaster and called for term and age limits on politicians – including President Joe Biden – saying it’s time to bring new blood and ideas to the table.
“The same people who are running our country and our state are the same people who would ask you to come over and reset their router,” Cunningham said in the June 2022 ad, noting that McMaster has been in politics for more than 40 years.
“And where has that gotten us?” Cunningham asked. “We are near the bottom in schools and teacher pay, we are dead last in roads, and crime is the highest it’s ever been.”
“Whether it’s calling for legalizing weed, continually and purposefully lying to voters, or disrespecting those who are 65 years or older by implying their age and experience makes them incompetent to serve, it’s clear Cunningham needs to grow up,” said South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick in a June 30 statement.
McMaster and Cunningham will participate in a televised debate through South Carolina ETV on October 26. Both will face off in the November 7 election.
If McMaster wins the general election in November and completes that term, he will become the longest-serving governor in the state’s history.