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Democrat Joe Cunningham scores Republican endorsements for anti-offshore drilling stance

Joe Cunningham (WCIV)

Protecting the pristine palmetto state oceanfront is a key issue for local leaders.

"Tourism is a 19-billion dollar industry for South Carolina. If we ruin these coasts, we're in trouble," said Jimmy Carroll, mayor of Isle of Palms.

That's he’s endorsing Joe Cunningham, a Democratic candidate for Congress. Mayor Carroll said preventing offshore drilling near the South Carolina coast is a priority seen on the walls of his office at City Hall.

"Right now I look at our coastline and our environment and I want to protect it," he said.

Carroll says Katie Arrington's victory over Congressman Mark Sanford in last week's primary election made him think twice about who to endorse in the general election.

"Mark is a friend of mine. And he stood for the right things. And his loss was big one to me. But watching this next election come up, Joe Cunningham stands for what I stand for when it comes to protecting our environment," Mayor Carroll said.

Cunningham is campaigning against offshore drilling, while Republican Katie Arrington aligns herself with President Trump's plan to open south carolina waters to oil rigs.

On May 19, several city leaders and lawmakers attended an event on Folly Beach aimed at preventing the search for oil.

"If you build it, it will leak. I guarantee you if you build an offshore drilling platform off the coast of South Carolina, it will leak," proclaimed Tim Goodwin, mayor of Folly Beach.

Goodwin is also endorsing Joe Cunningham. He's another coastal official crossing the political aisle like Jimmy Carroll.

"There's a common ground I wish people would start finding," Carroll said.

Michael Mule’, a political consultant for Katie Arrington, issued a statement to ABC News 4. “It’s pathetic but not surprising that Joe Cunningham has to lie to people to get their endorsements. It’s also sad that Mayor Goodwin and Mayor Carroll simply listened to Joe’s lies instead of contacting Representative Arrington directly on her position.”

Mule’ also referred to statements from Rep. Arrington on her Facebook page.

“While there are those who are using scare tactics to politicize this issue, the Trump Administration simply reversed the Obama Administration's national policy. I believe states should have the final say on this issue, and for South Carolina, nothing will change. I am not opposed to studying the issue, but we didn't have an oil industry in our state before the Obama ban. We won't have one after the Obama ban.”

“My legislative record has been one of supporting free market alternative energy solutions and common-sense environmental legislation.”

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