Campaigning for the 2020 presidential election began in Myrtle Beach Friday afternoon with a visit from Democratic hopeful Kamala Harris.
The California senator greeted a full house of supporters standing shoulder-to-shoulder inside Big Mike’s Soul Food before giving a short speech focused on “restoring truth, justice and equal opportunity in America.”
Harris is part of a crowded field of Democrats vying for the presidential nomination that also includes fellow U.S. senators Cory Booker, of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders, of Vermont.
While waiting in line outside of the eatery, Lisa Moore, of Myrtle Beach, said she has never felt so strongly in favor of a presidential candidate.
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“I have 100 percent trust in her,” Moore said, adding that she’ll still likely vote for any Democratic nominee over current President Donald Trump.
Harris avoided mentioning Trump by name during her speech and while answering questions from supporters, but she alluded to him numerous times, asserting that the nation currently has a “vacuum of leadership” and that he’s trying to divide us by pouring billions of dollars into a border wall.
William and Julie Hall, Myrtle Beach residents for about 15 years, voted for Trump last election, but showed up to hear Harris because they said they’re disappointed with the lack of progress he’s made on issues including healthcare and equal pay for women.
William Hall, a veteran, said he was hopeful Trump would improve services available for veterans, but that hasn’t materialized. He said there’s still a chance he votes for Trump again, but it will depend on who the Democrats nominate and whether Trump can make any more changes.
Bill Proctor, another Myrtle Beach resident, said his only goal for the 2020 election is to get rid of Trump, and he believes Harris presents the opportunity to do that.
“He doesn’t think,” Proctor said of the current president, adding that Trump often sounds and acts like a dictator.
About a dozen Trump supporters gathered in their red “Make America Great Again” hats across the street from the restaurant, which is owned by Myrtle Beach councilman Mike Chestnut.
Harris told her supporters that, while she’s hopeful to fix the injustices occurring right now, she also wants to present a vision of prosperity for the future. She specifically addressed the threat of climate change and the need to support job growth in the clean energy field.