Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris speaks Sunday afternoon during a campaign rally at New Ebenezer Baptist Church's Strive Hard Educational, Recreational and Enrichment Center in Florence.

FLORENCE, S.C. – One of the leading candidates to be the Democratic nominee for president spent her Sunday in the Pee Dee.

As part of a two-day South Carolina visit, Sen. Kamala Harris visited Florence and Hartsville.

Harris’ day started at Cumberland United Methodist Church in Florence. She attended the church with Florence County Democratic Party Chairwoman LaShonda NeSmith-Jackson.

Harris was greeted by the Rev. Dr. Anthony Hodge, the senior pastor at the church. She also worshiped with congregants who were attending the Sunday service.

Next, Harris participated in a meet-and-greet event at Hartsville’s Jerusalem Baptist Church.

Harris was introduced by state Rep. Pat Henegan, the co-chair of her South Carolina campaign.

Henegan’s House district includes portions of Darlington and Marlboro Counties.

Davita Malloy, wife of state Sen. Gerald Malloy, also introduced Harris in Hartsville.

Finally, Harris appeared at a town hall event at Florence’s New Ebenezer Baptist Church's Strive Hard Educational, Recreational and Enrichment Center.

She was introduced at that event by Florence County Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman Mattie Thomas, former state Rep. Bakari Sellers, NeSmith-Jackson, and former gubernatorial candidate Marguerite Willis, who also serves as a South Carolina campaign co-chair.

Sellers was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014 and former representative for South Carolina House District 90. He endorsed Harris in April during a stop in Orangeburg.

As county party chair, NeSmith-Jackson said, it would be inappropriate for her to endorse anyone in the race. She did, however, add that she liked Harris’ message, her platform, and her energy.

Willis, who is married to former Florence Mayor Frank Willis, came in second in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary behind former state Rep. James Smith. Her running mate during the campaign, state Sen. John Scott of Richland County, has also endorsed Harris. The Smith campaign lost to Republican Henry McMaster in the general election.

McMaster was an early endorser of President Donald Trump in 2016 and frequently referenced his relationship with the president on the campaign trail during the campaign.

Harris also met with 40-50 pastors from the Pee-Dee region Sunday.

Her remarks to the pastors centered on her faith and how to her "faith is a verb" and how actions are what matter at the end of the day. She also discussed her agenda, focusing on the LIFT Act and her support of Medicare-for-All.

One area Harris said she learned about from visiting the Pee Dee region was the necessity of assisting rural Americans in accessing broadband internet.

She said there were millions of Americans who could not access the digital economy with broadband.

Harris became favored by some oddsmakers for the nomination after her performance in the Democratic debate in which she took part in June.

Some oddsmakers favor former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden also appeared in the same debate. After the debate, the odds shifted from Biden to Harris.

Harris has already made an appearance in the Pee Dee, heading to Hemingway on March 8.

Harris will remain in South Carolina Monday. She will hold a town hall at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center at 12:30 p.m. Monday with doors opening at noon.

The South Carolina Democratic Primary is scheduled for Feb. 29, 2020.

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Government and Poltics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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