About 600 Lowcountry voters filed into the Whale Branch Middle School gymnasium Saturday morning in Seabrook, hoping to get up close and personal with 2020 presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana.
And, with South Carolina’s primary election scheduled for February and many democrats left in the race, some folks are saying they’re “all for Pete.”
Blue “Pete 2020” and rainbow “BOOT EDGE EDGE” signs speckled the crowd, along with one homemade white poster that had “I’m Bill from South Bend, Indiana,” scribbled in black marker on it.
The crowd roared when Buttigieg stepped onto the stage.
In the roughly one-hour town hall, Buttigieg made sure to speak on a number of hot-button issues affecting the nation, such abortion, gun violence, healthcare, veterans’ rights, and climate control.
Beverly Perdue, who has lived in Bluffton since 2015 after living in different parts of Indiana, including South Bend, said she likes Buttigieg’s positive approach to politics and how he genuinely listens to people.
“He wants to see a better us,” Perdue said. “I try to give everyone a fair chance, but he just stands out.”
Brucy Holler, a Hilton Head resident, who was volunteering at the event agreed.
“I’m a Mayor Pete fan,” Holler said.
She said she believes Buttigieg could win the state primary.
“It’s refreshing to have someone who understands the world stage. That’s important,” Holler said. “His intelligence is off the charts.”
Fellow Hilton Head resident Amanda Cifaldi, owner of Pomodori Italian Eatery on the island’s south end, echoed how impressed she is by Buttigieg’s intelligence.
“I’m all for Pete,” Cifaldi said. “I have been since the beginning.”
She said she’s confident Buttigieg could not only win the state’s primary but “the whole thing” because he has the ability to bring people together and unite the country.
Spencer Washington, a Seabrook local, sold T-shirts and other merchandise at the event. He said he’s done the same thing for other candidates who have passed through northern Beaufort County this election season.
“I’m just excited all these candidates are coming through here,” he said. “Not everyone around here has voted, but this is showing us we actually matter.”
Other Democratic candidates including Andrew Yang, a New York businessman and entrepreneur; Cory Booker, a New Jersey senator; Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts senator; Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman; John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor; and author Marianne Williamson have also recently held campaign events in Beaufort County.
Hickenlooper has since dropped out of the race.