South Carolina's slogan this week: The land of political sight-seeing

January 18, 2012 

South Carolina attracts golfers, beach-goers -- and political junkies.

For the second time in four years, Rick Langholz and his wife drove from Falls Church, Va., to check out the S.C. GOP presidential candidates weeks before their state can cast ballots.

Like they did in 2008, the couple is traveling to rallies across South Carolina to listen to candidates. And like visitors who take snapshots by the shore, they also try to get photos with the candidates.

Rick Langholz, who retired from the EPA, said he can have access to major political figures that otherwise could cost hundreds in donations. They visited Mitt Romney in Sumter and Ron Paul in Columbia and planned a trip to the Upstate to see Rick Santorum.

Langholz was able to ask Newt Gingrich a question during a rally at the S.C. State Farmers Market in Dixiana this week about protecting retirees’ savings and keeping Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman. (Gingrich said he would fire Bernanke, a Dillon native, and examine returning to the gold standard.)

Afterwards, he got to shake Gingrich’s hand while his wife quickly took a picture.

“It’s all part of the democratic process,” Langholz said. “You’re able to see (the candidates) face-to-face and see what they are like You can do that here. The state is small enough and easy too get around.”

As for his choice on Super Tuesday on March 6 when Virginians can go to the polls, Langholz is leaning toward Romney: “We’re focused on electability.”

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