FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence’s The Loft Sports Bar and Grill will host a watch party for both debates by Democratic Party presidential candidates this week.

The first debate Wednesday night will feature U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts , former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rouke of Texas, U.S. Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey , U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii , U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland.

The second debate on Thursday night will feature former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, businessman Andrew Yang, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, author Marianne Williamson, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

Sanders and Williamson have already made stops in Florence. Sanders spoke briefly at a Martin Luther King Day event at Mount Zion AME Church. Williamson made a visit in February.

Harris made a stop at Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Hemingway.

Buttigieg was scheduled to make a stop in Florence last week but canceled because of a shooting in South Bend.

The debates are scheduled for 9 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. They will be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. There are also several free live-streaming options.

The watch party is sponsored by S.C. Rep. Terry Alexander.

Alexander represents House District 59, which includes portions of northern Florence County and eastern Darlington County. He has been a member of the House since 2009. He was on the Florence County Council before being elected to the House of Representatives.

The hosts will be Florence City Council members Teresa Myers Ervin, Pat Gibson-Hye Moore, Glynn Willis, Florence County Democratic Party Chairwoman LaShonda NeSmith-Jackson and former city council candidate Issac Wilson. Wilson is also the regional representative for the campaign of Joe Biden.

The Loft is at 163 N. Dargan St. It was opened by Joy and Craig Walker in August 2018.

The watch party is scheduled to begin on both nights at 8:30 p.m. and go until the debates are finished around 11 p.m.

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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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