FLORENCE, S.C. – “I’m tired of that man.”
That’s how one woman described her feelings about President Donald Trump to Issac Wilson, regional director for the presidential campaign of Joe Biden, and to Alphonso “Al” Bradley, a member of the Florence County Council, as they visited her Royal Street home Thursday to gain pledges to vote for the former vice president.
Wilson had just finished asking the woman if she would support Biden when she said she was tired of Trump.
Her home was the fourth home Wilson and Bradley visited Thursday during a canvass of the neighborhood that’s a part of Florence Ward 1.
That they would choose to canvass there is not surprising: Florence Ward 1 is among the most Democratic-leaning precincts in the county. During the 2018 general election, Ward 1 was one of seven precincts where Democratic candidate for governor James Smith received greater than 90% of the votes cast in that race.
The woman continued her criticism about Trump as she filled out a pledge card, implying that Vice President Mike Pence was a fake Christian and repeating several times that she was tired of Trump.
The pledge cards, like the one she filled out, serve three purposes: First, the card allows the campaign to have some idea of how much support it will receive; second, it gives the campaign a list of folks to make sure they will vote; and third, it provides an opportunity to solicit volunteers for the campaign and their events.
The goal is to get people to cast their ballots, early if possible.
In South Carolina, early voting is known as absentee balloting. Voters can cast an absentee ballot for 17 different reasons in the Palmetto State.
Biden, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have the highest odds of becoming the Democratic Party’s challenger to Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
So the support was forthcoming soon after Wilson and Bradley divided a list of voters – 40 each— with another pair of folks canvassing the neighborhood.
While they walked to the first house of the night, Wilson explained his strategy for canvassing: Know about the candidate so you can answer questions about the issues and be really happy and enthusiastic about the person you’re trying to get votes for.
Wilson looked enthusiastic wearing a Biden for President shirt that he added a Biden sticker to.
Bradley, decked out in what one might call a golf outfit — he loves to golf— wore a sticker.
It didn’t seem like anyone was home at the first house Wilson and Bradley visited.
Wilson prepared to leave some Biden literature in the door when the door opened and the voter registered at the address answered the door.
Wilson quickly went into a short speech to solicit a pledge to vote for Biden.
The person agreed, filled out one of the cards and handed it back.
As the two walked away from the house, it quickly became apparent that everyone knows Bradley, including the person who drove by and honked and the person who walked by and waved.
A few blocks away stood a billboard at one time containing an advertisement for Bradley’s 2018 re-election campaign — he ran unopposed.
And the border between Council District 7, represented by Rev. Dr. Waymon Mumford, chairman of the county council, and Bradley’s District 3 is not that far away.
At the third home Bradley and Wilson visited, a home on a street corner, Bradley knew the people who lived there through a bail bond business he owns.
That home was the only one of the four they visited while the Morning News walked along where no one answered the door.
When he looked at the name of the second home, three doors down from the first, Wilson, a former candidate for an at-large seat on the city council, said he knew the registered voter.
“I know this guy from high school,” Wilson said.
He found another receptive voter when he knocked on the door.
His high school buddy filled out a pledge card, even agreeing to volunteer for the campaign.
The two stopped at the third home before making their way to the fourth.
There, an African-American man in a bright blue shirt was sitting off to the side of the home. He quickly went inside to get the two women registered there. While Wilson and Bradley waited, a little girl played on the other side of a car from the visitors in her yard.
The first woman walked out and agreed to vote for Biden.
Then, she went inside to get the second woman, the one who was tired of Trump.
Getting four pledge cards at four houses is something of a roll in canvassing.
Sometimes, Wilson added, folks may not be receptive to Biden's message and could prefer Harris, who has attacked Biden in the past two Democratic debates. Even still, as the South Carolina summer baked them, Wilson and Bradley pressed on, walking toward the location of the fifth house.