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

Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamLobbying world House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week MORE (D-S.C.) said Wednesday he does not support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the New Hampshire primary Sanders on NH victory: Win is ‘beginning of the end for Donald Trump’ Buttigieg congratulates Sanders on ‘strong showing’ in New Hampshire 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.”

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 BidenWinners and losers from the New Hampshire primary Sanders on NH victory: Win is ‘beginning of the end for Donald Trump’ 5 takeaways from the New Hampshire primary 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, Warren on ropes after delegate shutout Webb: Race and the Democratic primaries Mellman: Debating Michael Bloomberg MORE at 18.5 percent. Sanders closely tails in third at 17 percent, based on the average.

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