Democrat Cunningham picks Tally Parham Casey as running mate

South Carolina Democrat Joe Cunningham has named Tally Parham Casey, a lawyer and the first female fighter pilot in the state’s National Guard, his lieutenant governor running mate as he seeks to unseat Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.

Cunningham will make the official announcement in Greenville County later Monday, the same county where McMaster’s running mate Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette calls home. It’s also an area of the state where Democrats have tried to make gains in past elections.

The Associated Press first reported Casey’s selection.

Casey, a Greenville native who now lives in of Columbia, chairs the executive committee of the Wyche Law Firm, and was the first female fighter pilot in the South Carolina Air National Guard. She served three combat tours in Iraq.

“Tally is the best person for the job, period,” Cunningham told the AP. “And the fact that she’s a woman brings that perspective to the ticket, especially in light of everything that’s gone on with Gov. McMaster’s attack on our freedoms and his assault on women’s rights. It makes it that much more personal for Tally.”

The one-term Lowcountry congressman kept quiet for months about his lieutenant governor pick — a delay other Democratic governor candidates had made months in advance in 2018 when candidates were first allowed to have running mates.

This photo provided by Tyler Jones shows Joe Cunningham, left, and Talley Parham Casey, right, a former fighter pilot-turned lawyer, his running mate in his quest to become South Carolina’s first Democratic governor in 20- years. Cunningham, who previewed his pick last week for The Associated Press ahead of a formal rollout later Monday, Aug. 1, 2022 said that Casey’s broad experience is the right match for the new generation of leadership he hopes to bring to South Carolina’s top office. Cunningham planned to formally announce his pick later Monday. (Tyler Jones via AP) Tyler Jones AP

He only released a short list of nine possible picks last month. The list included state lawmakers, former candidates for office and the city manager in Columbia, who declined to be considered.

The choice of the Greenville native gives the Democratic ticket a counter to McMaster’s running mate Evette, a businesswoman and Traveler’s Rest resident.

Casey is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

For 20 years, she has focused on commercial, securities and health care litigation and products liability, insurance and aerospace law.

While Casey’s never run for public office, she has been politically involved, giving $700 in contributions to various candidates since 2018.

In 2018, she gave $400 to James Smith’s unsuccessful campaign for governor.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

Joseph Bustos is a state government and politics reporter at The State. He a Northwestern University graduate and previously worked in Illinois covering government and politics. He has won reporting awards in both Illinois and Missouri. He moved to South Carolina in November 2019.
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