South Carolina Sen. Mia McLeod, one of five women to serve in the state Legislature’s upper chamber who over the past year used her platform to pounce on the governor’s COVID-19 health protocols, announced she will run for governor in 2022.
The Richland County Democrat held a formal announcement at Columbia’s Modjeska Monteith Simkins House, honoring the civil rights advocate who died in 1992.
“This is Bennettsville, South Carolina. A place so neglected by so many for so long that some even call it the, ‘corridor of shame.’ It’s the place where I was born. It’s the place that shaped me. And the truth is, all across South Carolina, we share similar stories. Stories of love, of faith, of defying the odds,” McLeod says in the ad, along photos of her as a child and her hometown. “But far too often across this state, we also share stories of struggle and neglect because politicians have forgotten about all but those who agree with them or fund their campaigns.”
For generations, my family has chosen to stay here in South Carolina because when you love our state as much as we do, you’re able to look beyond her challenges to see her possibilities and fight like hell to help her reach her true potential.
Sadly, because of decades of poor leadership and neglect, we’re losing so many of our best and brightest to neighboring states that offer higher paying jobs, opportunities for a better quality of life and leadership that actually cares about and caters to the needs of ALL of the people. That’s something South Carolina hasn’t had in decades of Republican Governors, who don’t care about the struggles that South Carolinians face every day. They have no real connection to or compassion for the rest of us.
… I believe in a South Carolina where the Governor has the courage to lead, the compassion to feel empathy for others, a connection to the people she represents, the character to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, and the conviction to stand, even if she has to stand alone.
McLeod, 52, is the first Black woman to run for governor in South Carolina.
She now stands with a handful of Black women nationwide seeking higher office after Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign in Georgia in 2018 and Kamala Harris’ historic rise from Democratic presidential candidate to vice president in 2020. Also in South Carolina, state Rep. Krystle Matthews, D-Berkeley, announced in April her bid against U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate.
“I’ve been fighting the status quo for 10 years, and I’m still fighting, taking on the fights no one else will, even when I fight alone.” McLeod said standing in front of former and state lawmakers.
McLeod is at least the third Democrat to launch a campaign for governor, after former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham and activist Gary Votour.
“I want to welcome Sen. Mia McLeod to the race for governor and congratulate her on the historical significance of her campaign,” Cunningham said in a statement. “Mia brings an important voice to this race, and I look forward to spending time with her on the trail as we make our case to voters.”
So far, incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has no high-profile primary challengers who have announced, though rumors still remain that McMaster’s 2018 challenger, Republican John Warren of Greenville, and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, could still run.