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The Democratic presence in Orangeburg County has made the county a destination for 2020 presidential candidates, according to the chairman of the Orangeburg County Democratic Party.

Kenny Glover said Thursday he is not surprised the candidates are making Orangeburg a priority on their campaign trail.

“African-Americans had at least a 60 percent turnout in the last election,” Williams said, referring to the 2016 presidential election. Glover also believes candidates are stopping in the state as a whole due to when the state’s Democratic primary will be held.

The South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary will be Feb 29, 2020. That date makes S.C. the first Southern state, and the third state overall, to hold a primary in the United States.

2020 Democratic presidential candidates Beto O'Rourke of Texas and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey will be visiting Orangeburg, with O'Rourke slated for a visit Friday.

Booker will be featured at a CNN Town Hall at 10 p.m. Wednesday at Stevenson Auditorium. 

Glover said the candidates realize the importance of gaining a foothold in the small communities with heavy Democratic turnouts.

“Orangeburg is one of the rare counties in the state that’s got complete Democratic majority as far as local elected officials. all of them are Democrats,” Glover said.

Glover credited the presence of young voters in the county, specifically those on the campuses of Claflin and South Carolina State universities, as an additional factor in attracting the candidates to the county.

“We’ve got the two HBCUs here and Orangeburg County’s got a reputation of being able to turn out voters in the primary and general elections. With the HBCUs, you’ve got a strong base of young, ready and willing volunteers that are able to get into the campaigns and encouraged to get into the campaigns,” Glover said.

“They’re really motivated workers. They bring a lot of good ideas to the table, so it’s always good to be able to utilize them,” he said.

Glover said veteran voters also draw candidates.

“We’ve also got a strong base in voters that are tried and true. They come out and vote and they’re energetic voters,” he said.

Glover said the county’s Democratic Party is interested in the candidates' views on several national and local topics.

“We’re interested in health care, Medicare, education, better school and teacher pay,” Glover said.

“Right now I think the key local issue is gang violence and what can they do on a national level to help us locally with that. Also the broken criminal justice system,” Glover added.

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Glover said representatives of the county’s Democratic Party will be in attendance at the meet-and-greet with O’Rourke.

The event will take place at K.W. Green Student Center Plaza on S.C. State's campus at 2:25 p.m. Friday.

O’Rourke, the former Texas representative, announced his candidacy for president on March 14.

The Texan will kick off a two-day visit to South Carolina in Rock Hill on Friday morning with a meet-and-greet at Amelie’s Café, according to a press release.

He will then travel to Orangeburg and Charleston to host meet-and-greet events.

On March 30, he will hold his official campaign kickoff event in El Paso, Texas, where he will lay out his priorities and his vision for the best way to move America forward, the press release stated.

This week, O’Rourke announced that he raised a record-breaking $6.1 million in online contributions during the first 24 hours of his grassroots campaign. Without any money from PACs, corporations or special interests, he received contributions from every state and territory in the nation, according to the press release.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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