COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Thousands of people spent the weekend in Columbia for the SC Democratic Convention. The 2 days full of events featured meet and greet opportunities with the democratic presidential candidates and discussion about current and proposed policies.
The weekend kicked off Friday with the Blue Palmetto Dinner at the Columbia Convention Center.
More than 1000 people were in attendance at the Columbia Convention Center Friday. Several candidates including former vice president Joe Biden, senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke were also in attendance for the kickoff dinner.
“I’m here to hear the candidates speak and tell everyone what they want to do to be our president,” said Sandino Moses, a voter from Charleston.
Another voter, Yolonda Anderson, was also there to hear from the presidential hopefuls. “I’m just interested to see and to hear what they have to say collectively.”
All of the voters Friday evening have different criteria they’ll be using to help choose their candidate next year, but they all agree on one issue; that education needs to be addressed
Lewis Burke was one of them. ” Free college education is really important to me.”
Moses added, “I definitely think we need to focus on education especially in South Carolina where we rank 49th.”
The Blue Palmetto Dinner is just one of several events to get voters in front of the candidates and to gear up for the primary in February. SC’s primary is important because it helps set the pace and tone for other states with primary elections after South Carolina’s.
“We get a close up look of the candidates. They get a chance to try out their message and see if it resonates in a mixed population which is what South Carolina is, more so compared to Iowa or New Hampshire. It allows them to set themselves apart from the pack,” said Charles Bierbauer, former White House correspondent.
Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam is hoping to make it past the primary. “Everyone knows that South Carolina being an early state is very important in this race.”
Burke explained, “Well the winners here will have momentum going forward. it’s Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire after that, those candidates will shrink dramatically.”
The democratic primary is February 29th. It will be the first chance for voters to narrow down the field of 2 dozen candidates.