The candidates for governor on the Democratic side got their first chance in this election to share the podium. The Newberry County Democrats held their 2009 Supper and Stump meeting in a barbecue restaurant called Hawg Heaven in the town of Prosperity.
Candidate Vincent Sheheen, State Senator from Kershaw announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t thank of a better place to kick off the Democratic Stump Meeting in South Carolina than Prosperity. That’s what we’re going to return to South Carolina, ladies and gentleman: prosperity. It’s an omen.”
Newberry County Chair Dave Waldrop says he arranged this relaxed setting for a reason. “The people are speaking and this type of forum will give them an idea, and give me an idea and maybe the candidates the more one-on-one approach that they need. Better to do that in a rural area than in an urban area where you have a format to go by. If you know tonight, this was strictly a one-on-one, off-the-hip type situation.”
Some of the evening’s statement included attorney Dwight Drake on the actions of Gov. Mark Sanford that prompted him to run:Listen to Drake statement MP3
State Senator Robert Ford on bringing back video poker:Listen to Ford statement MP3
Attorney Mullins McCleod on his need to lead:Listen to McLeod statement MP3
State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex on saving the state, using an airplane metaphor:Listen to Rex statement MP3
State Senator Vince Sheheen on a vision for economic development:Listen to Sheheen statement MP3
This was a chance for the Democrats running for governor to introduce themselves, their parents, families, education, work ethics and to trumpet their track records.
They also took aim at the GOP debate held the night before in downtown Newberry and as expected, Gov. Mark Sanford was the brunt of jokes and criticism.
The five took impromptu questions from people in the crowded room. Of concern to the audience of about 120 people: education, the economy, then health care.
The evenings audience was diverse, represented by about a 60-40 split of white to black, with Hispanic participants as well. The event coordinators say that represents the active base of the party in Newberry County.