One Joe is backing another.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday endorsed Charleston Democrat Joe Cunningham, a first-time political candidate running in South Carolina's coastal 1st Congressional District.

"I know South Carolina, and I know how important it is for the Lowcountry to have strong representation in Congress," Biden said in a statement provided by the Cunningham campaign.

Calling Cunningham a "friend," Biden praised his commitment to environmental preservation, improving infrastructure and growing the middle class.

"And his commitment to put country over party is something Washington, D.C., desperately needs," Biden said. "Simply put, Joe Cunningham will be a fantastic congressman, and I am proud to be in his corner."

Cunningham, a West Ashley construction law attorney, tweeted the news Thursday afternoon, along with a photo of him smiling next to Biden.

"We all know how much the VP loves the Lowcountry, and it's a great honor to have him in our corner. Now let's go win this thing!" Cunningham tweeted.

Tyler Jones, Cunningham's campaign spokesman, said the two Democrats met last September when Biden visited Charleston to celebrate the centennial of the Charleston NAACP.

In addition to giving Cunningham's campaign a potential boost, Biden's endorsement keeps his South Carolina political ties strong as he is rumored to be mulling his own 2020 presidential bid.

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Biden already has thrown his support behind two other South Carolina Democrats: State Rep. James Smith, who is running for governor, and Columbia lawyer Dick Harpootlian, who is running in for a state Senate seat.

Cunningham faces Republican state Rep. Katie Arrington in November. Like Cunningham, Arrington is a first-time congressional candidate.

She quickly gained national attention when she defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in the June GOP primary after positioning herself the candidate who would support President Donald Trump.

Trump endorsed her on the day of the primary election and has continued to publicly support her congressional run.

The district spans much of the South Carolina coastline from Charleston south, with boundaries wrapping around parts of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Colleton and Beaufort counties.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.

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