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SC US Rep. Joe Cunningham slams Republicans for attack on his wife

Joe Cunningham packing_005.JPG (copy)

Joe and Amanda Cunningham pack a suitcase with their 10-month-old son, Boone, for Washington, D.C., in their West Ashley condo on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

South Carolina Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham has fired back at the House Republicans' congressional campaign managers after they issued a slam against his wife over her views and marriage counseling.

“Amanda is my rock — and the @NRCC just hit rock bottom,” Cunningham tweeted Friday in a message aimed at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The move came as the GOP's spotlighting of Amanda Cunningham's social media posts has become fodder as they try to win back South Carolina's 1st Congressional District around Charleston.

But it also could spark a bump for Cunningham, whose campaign says it has raised more than $40,000 in the 24 hours since the Republicans renewed Mrs. Cunningham as a target. 

The issue started about three weeks ago when Amanda Cunningham went on Instagram in a self-described "rant" against the insurance coverage made available to members of Congress. It did not cover her mental health or marriage counseling, she said.

It kicked up again this week when she responded to an Instagram message from presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke who was advocating for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

"Beto getting bolder and I like it," she said.

The National Republican Congressional Committee screen-grabbed the posting but added the wording “Looks like Mrs. Cunningham likes a man who supports baseless impeachment … wonder if this will come up in @RepCunningham‘s marriage counseling?”

Other media noticed the exchange, including author and political commentator Jake Sherman, who quoted those he described as very senior Republican lawmakers and operatives as saying, “Jeeez. Way too aggressive."

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NRCC spokesman Chris Pack was quoted by Politico as saying the usage was fair game.

"A few weeks ago, multiple outlets ran a story about Joe Cunningham's wife publicly complaining that her husband's taxpayer-funded health care plan doesn't cover her marriage counseling," he was reported by Politico responding.

"We referenced that tone deaf complaint when she publicly praised Beto's support of impeachment," he added. "She is the one who first publicly brought up these issues, not us. And they aren't going to help Cunningham win re-election in SC-01."

Cunningham said the attack was way out of bounds.

“I respect my wife and all women, y’all should give it a try," he said in comments directed at the NRCC. "Let’s show them there’s a price for living in the gutter.”

His Twitter message links to a fundraising effort.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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