Some S.C. Democrats jumped at the chance Tuesday to get an up-close view of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who hopes to be his successor when voters take to the polls in November.
With Obama campaigning with Clinton in Charlotte, some S.C. supporters drove as many as three hours to get to the 3 p.m. event.
The S.C. Democratic Party gave out its own allotment of tickets for the event Tuesday morning at its Columbia headquarters, which is where Kathryn Hensley of Lexington met up with a group making the drive.
“I just kind of took it on myself to get some kind of organization together,” Hensley said. “I was getting emails from 20 or 30 people about going ahead of time.”
The Charlotte stop likely will be the closest Obama and Clinton will get to South Carolina through the November elections – and likely after.
The Palmetto State’s first-in-the-South primaries attract droves of candidates. But after primaries – and after the political parties have their nominees – presidential contenders tend to focus their attention and travel plans on battleground states, ignoring South Carolina, where Republicans have a strong advantage.
After the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Obama did not return to South Carolina until last year.
The president spoke at Benedict College in Columbia last March. Then in June, Obama delivered the eulogy for slain state Sen. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston. Pinckney was shot and killed with eight others during a Bible study at the church where he was pastor.
After working an overnight shift at a hotel, Jennifer Jones-Wood drove up from Charleston with her daughters Holland Jones, 17, and Sullivan Wood, 5, in tow. Tuesday’s campaign event was not Sullivan’s first time seeing Clinton. Dressed in her “Tiny Hillary” Halloween costume, Sullivan got her photo taken with the former first lady at a rally she attended with her mom.
“She doesn’t even really know who Hillary Clinton is, really. She’s just someone that I like,” Jones-Wood said. Nevertheless, when she brought home a Hillary poster after volunteering for the campaign, Sullivan insisted it go in her room.
Sullivan did not get a photo this time, but she did get a copy of her Obama children’s book signed by the president.