Joe Cunningham burst onto the political scene in 2018. A moderate Democrat, he scored a massive upset victory in a solidly Republican district. That being the 1st District of South Carolina of the United States House of Representatives.

Not surprisingly, Cunningham's position very quickly became tenuous. Even for a moderate, a Democrat in a heavily Republican district isn't usually expected to hold office for very long. The same could be said for a Republican in a heavily Democratic district. And as it would turn out, Cunningham's Congressional tenure was brief.

But he seems eager to try for a different elected office.

Announces gubernatorial campaign

According to FOX Carolina, Joe Cunningham has announced his candidacy for governor of South Carolina. His candidacy is now formal and official. Though, unofficially, it had been anticipated beforehand. He filed paperwork to enter the race the previous week potentially.

WFXG indicates that Cunningham has several priorities that he plans to campaign on—among them, expanding Medicaid, gun and police reform, expanding voter rights, and repairing South Carolina roadways. Others include raising wages for teachers, overall larger investment in public education, and raising the minimum wage.

Cunningham faces a steep uphill climb to try to become the next governor of South Carolina.

While neighboring North Carolina is a noted swing state, South Carolina has been a Republican stronghold. Incumbent Republican Governor Henry McMaster is running for re-election. Currently, he's unopposed in the Republican primary. As it stands, McMaster or whoever else the Republican nominee might be is heavily favored in the general election.

Cunningham is the second Democrat to officially seek the gubernatorial nomination.

The 1st District of South Carolina is based in Charleston. In 2018, Cunningham defeated State Representative Katie Arrington for the U.S. House seat from the District. Arrington has been affiliated with the far-right wing of the Republican Party.

In 2020, however, the Republican nominee was State Representative Nancy Mace, a moderate. Mace defeated Cunningham in his re-election attempt, returning the 1st District to the Republican column.

Cunningham's father was a noted jurist

Joe Cunningham's father, Bill, was a prominent lawyer and judge in Kentucky. A U.S. Army veteran, the senior Cunnigham was the long-time city attorney of Eddyville in western Kentucky. Other posts he held along the way include commonwealth's attorney. Eventually, he became a Kentucky Circuit Court judge. In 2006, Bill Cunnigham was elected as a justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court. He retired in 2019.

The younger Cunningham was an ocean engineer for several years. Later, he also obtained a law degree. Afterward, he became a practicing attorney specializing in construction law.