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

Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamOvernight Energy: New Interior rule would limit scientific studies agency can consider | Panel battles over tree-planting bill | Trump to resume coal leases on public lands Tim Scott: Sanders would be toughest challenger for Trump Trailing Democrats tout strength with black voters ahead of South Carolina MORE (D-S.C.) said Wednesday he does not support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. 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.”

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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 looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket 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 Fahr SteyerBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina There's only one candidate for Democrats in Puerto Rico MORE at 18.5 percent. Sanders closely tails in third at 17 percent, based on the average.