Joe Cunningham and Mark Sanford at airport

Photo provided by Joe Cunningham.

 

 

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The end of an era, and the start of a new Congress

A surprisingly symbolic intersection happened Wednesday at the Charleston International Airport.

As South Carolina's incoming Democratic congressman Joe Cunningham prepared to fly out to Washington, where he will be sworn in today to start his stint in the U.S. House of Representatives, a familiar face was also passing through the airport.

It was Mark Sanford.

Sanford, the outgoing congressman who has spent nearly two decades in public office, carried his signature tote bag through the airport as he prepared for his next journey: A return to private life.

In his last post on Facebook as the representative of South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, Sanford reflected on the end of this chapter.

"I have tried my best to listen to the cacophony of different voices that make up our district, synthesize them as best I could, and take that word to Washington," Sanford wrote. "It’s an imperfect science but one that I spent a lot of time in trying to perform ably. That’s why we did all the public events and townhall meetings that we did. It’s why I did office hours and neighbourhood office hours and a whole lot more."

Cunningham now takes on the challenge as a political newcomer who has never before held public office. The two men passed each other in the airport, recognizing the significance of the moment unfolding before them as one man embarked on his political career, and one was stepping away from one. (Sanford still has not said publicly what his next steps will be.)

"Passing the torch," Cunningham tweeted.

"Indeed. All my best to @JoeCunninghamSC, Amanda & Boone!" Sanford wrote, retweeting the photo to his followers.

Cunningham is set to be sworn into office today at the Capitol. Read more about what he hopes to accomplish and what hints he is giving about who he plans to vote for as House speaker instead of Nancy Pelosi.


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Lawmakers push for independent commission to redraw district lines after 2020

Who should redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts after 2020?

Some state lawmakers say they'd like the lines to lie in the hands of a new independent commission, a move that could set the stage for a debate over gerrymandering and whether the Republican-controlled Legislature should be in charge of the task.

But as my colleague Andrew Brown noted, "But even some of the sponsors don't think it is actually going to pass."

Read more about the proposal and why some state lawmakers are still skeptical of changes being made to the redistricting process in South Carolina.

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In other news:

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AND ONE MORE THING:

Departing United Nations Ambassadors are just like us...sort of.

Nikki Haley Uber Tweet

Welcome to private life, Nikki Haley. (Though we fully expect you to continue making political waves.)


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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.