Those rolled-up sleeves must have done something. West Ashley attorney Joe Cunningham hit the campaign trail in 2017 to replace Mark Sanford, but for a while there, we figured that Katie Arrington’s aggressive posture was a better match for our Republican-leaning congressional district. Cunningham stuck to his guns (literally, by reminding people of his love for the Second Amendment), and strategically, by focusing on issues close to his heart that resonate with coastal dwellers.
The former ocean engineer made clear that he wouldn’t stand for offshore drilling, an issue Arrington wavered on. Ever since his upset win in November, Cunningham has played the media masterfully with meme-able moments (see: blowing an air horn during a committee meeting; trying and failing to take Lowcountry brews onto the U.S. House floor), but he balked when asked if he even considers himself a progressive. “I believe in moving the Lowcountry and our nation forward, and I will work with either party to get that done,” he told us. —Adam Manno
Runner-up: Tim Scott
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