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At the Stump: Presidential Candidates Court Rural Pee Dee Voters

2019 Galivants Ferry Presidential Stump
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio
2019 Galivants Ferry Presidential Stump

Democratic presidential candidates have consistently campaigned in South Carolina since the beginning of the year. They’ve visited the midlands, Upstate and the Lowcountry. Monday, four of these candidates returned to South Carolina, this time in the Pee Dee.

Along a small stretch of Highway 501 in Horry County, blue grass music and the aroma of southern favorites like crackling (friend pork skins) boiled peanuts and chicken bog filled the air. The 2019 Galivants Ferry Presidentail Stump speaking was in full swing. Early in the afternoon, people braved the heat and started to congregate at the Galivants Ferry General Store, it sits along the Little Pee Dee River. 

The event is 143 years old and is considered the oldest and largest "stump speaking" in the nation. This was

Myrtle Beach resident Ace Emory and a little Galivants Ferry Stump-goer fanning the heat during this year's event.
Credit Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio
Myrtle Beach resident Ace Emory and a little Galivants Ferry Stump-goer fanning the heat during this year's event.

the first time multiple presidential candidates spoke at the event.  In attendance were Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Vice President Joe Biden; and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Their presence drew a larger-than-normal crowd. People from across the region, many first time "stumpers," gathered to hear from the four democratic leaders wanting to lead the country.

Lisa Osca was buying a bag pork skins and locally-made bar-b-que sauce before the program started.

"I am the first vice chair of the Brunswick County Democratic party, this was announced at our meeting Thursday night."

The Oceanana, NC resident said she made the hour-long drive with seven other women, and 10 more were meeting them there.

"I just wanted to hear the candidates; Joe Biden [and] Pete Buttigieg, in particular."

Not far from the Bar-B-Que vendor tent, truck driver John Cummings sat in anticipation of the program, he recently moved to Horry County from North Dakota and said there's a chance he could move back.

"If I can find work that I can support myself at here- that's the ideal situation." 

Despite employment uncertainty, Cummings said he was most concerned about healthcare.

"I actually, for the first time, bought an Obama Care policy that was affordable. The older you get, the more important healthcare is," he said.

Healthcare and job creation in rural America were topics candidates spoke on. Other topics included education, gun control, climate change, immigration and abortion rights.