Rep. Cunningham blasts Sanders: 'South Carolinians don't want socialism'

Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamHouse chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection Capitol officials extend suspension of tourist access until May Second Capitol Police officer tests positive for coronavirus MORE (D-S.C.) said Wednesday he does not support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Judge slams Wisconsin governor, lawmakers for not delaying election amid coronavirus outbreak The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden offers to talk coronavirus response with Trump MORE’s (I-Vt.) proposals that the congressman labeled as “socialism.” 

“South Carolinians don’t want socialism,” Cunningham said in a statement to The Post and Courier

“We want to know how you are going to get things done and how you are going to pay for them," added Cunningham, a Democrat who flipped a seat in 2018 that was long held by Republicans. "Bernie’s proposals to raise taxes on almost everyone is not something the Lowcountry wants and not something I’d ever support.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Sanders, who won Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary after a successful showing in the Iowa caucuses, has become the front-runner in the primary race. The Vermont senator has described himself as a democratic socialist. 

Asked if he would support Sanders if he wins the party nomination, Cunningham told the Post “Bernie Sanders will not be the nominee.” 

A spokesperson for the Sanders campaign was not immediately available for comment. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes 16 things to know today about coronavirus outbreak MORE made similar comments to Cunningham over the weekend. Biden said that Sanders’s label as a democratic socialist would create a “bigger uphill climb” for down ballot candidates in more moderate districts. 

Cunningham told the Post he does not plan to make an endorsement ahead of the state’s Feb. 29 primary. The only other Democratic congressman from the state, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, has also not endorsed a candidate in the primary.

Biden is leading the field in South Carolina, the first nominating state with a significant African American  population, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls in the state. Biden has 31 percent support, followed by philanthropist Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE at 18.5 percent. Sanders closely tails in third at 17 percent, based on the average.