SC Candidate, 40, Seeks Age Limit for Politicians

Joe Cunningham says country is being run by 'geriatric oligarchy'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 23, 2022 5:05 AM CDT
SC Candidate, 40, Seeks Age Limit for Politicians
Former US. Rep. Joe Cunningham addresses delegates at South Carolina's Democratic Party convention on Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Columbia, SC.   (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

(Newser) – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Joe Cunningham is proposing an age limit for South Carolina politicians—a cap that would cut off the 75-year-old incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster—and making a veiled argument that even fellow Democrats like President Biden are staying "in office way past their prime." "Our country and our state are being run by a geriatric oligarchy," Cunningham says in a campaign video. "Some of these folks have been clinging onto power for 30, 40, even 50 years," Cunningham says. "The folks who are making a career out of politics are making a mess of our country."

Cunningham—who recently turned 40—proposes instituting an age limit of 72 for South Carolina politicians, a retirement bar already in effect for the state's judges, and one that would take a constitutional amendment, approved by voters, to implement, the AP reports. Cunningham ended the campaign video by making a bipartisan appeal for support from those who may have previously voted for Biden, former President Trump, or McMaster, "sometime in the last 40 years." Cunningham won a five-way primary June 14 to secure South Carolina's gubernatorial nomination.

Cunningham has frequently jabbed at McMaster's age, arguing that the Republican—who has served in a variety of public roles including lieutenant governor, US attorney, and South Carolina attorney general, for the majority of the past four decades—has "been in politics longer than I've been alive." Cunningham's campaign wouldn't answer questions Wednesday about whether the Democrat would argue that Biden—who has supported Cunningham since his 2018 run for Congress—is too old to serve. When he took office last year at age 78, Biden was sworn in as the oldest president in the nation’s history, displacing Ronald Reagan, who left the White House weeks before his 78th birthday.

(Read more politicians stories.)

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