Joe Cunningham, the Charleston lawyer and political newcomer who successfully flipped South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, takes his place in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
Cunningham’s swearing-in will mark the first time in at least a generation that both Charleston-area congressional districts are held by Democrats. Congressman Jim Clyburn, who will serve as Majority Whip in the new Congress, represents S.C.’s 6th District which includes some of downtown Charleston into rural areas between the Lowcountry along I-26 and into the Columbia metro.
But before he even touched down in D.C. to take his seat, Cunningham ran into his predecessor, outgoing Rep. Mark Sanford, as he prepped to board a plane to Washington on Wednesday.
Cunningham posted the encounter on Twitter with the note, “Passing the Torch.”
In turn, Sanford responded, “Indeed. All my best to @JoeCunninghamSC, Amanda & Boone!”
In an interview published today, Cunningham told the P&C that he’ll spend his first week in Washington getting acclimated to his new freshman role, eying committee assignments, and looking for a roommate for while he spends his weekdays inside the Beltway.
With Congress unable to agree on budget terms and with both parties unwilling to budge from their positions for and against President Donald Trump’s border wall, Democrats take control of the (formally) divided capitol amid a federal government shutdown.
After a meeting with the president on Wednesday, Democratic leaders do not seem optimistic that funding issues would be resolved in the next few days, meaning that federal resources, employees, and citizens in need of the services they provide will be left out in the cold for the foreseeable future.