Friday, February 26, 2016

Clinton, Sanders hitting rural backroads in South Carolina to win African American votes

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are hitting the churches, barbershops and beauty salons in South Carolina's African American communities in an attempt to win over the state's large black population ahead of Saturday's primary, Brad Mielke reports for ABC News. "Both have made stops along South Carolina’s infamous 'Corridor of Shame,' a stretch of poor, rural, largely African-American populations that have long complained about underfunded school systems." (ABC graphic)

"Invoking the backroads of the rural South rather than the streets of Manhattan is no accident, said Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison," Mielke writes. South Carolina, where African Americans make up more than half of the state's Democratic electorate, is the first true test for the candidates in the South, where several other states—including Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia which vote on Tuesday—have similar demographics. Harrison told Mielke, “Folks here are so far from Wall Street. It might as well be just as distant as Moscow. You have to make it real, in what they see in the real world.”

"In the 2008 primary, Clinton lost by nearly 30 points to then-Sen. Barack Obama, who inspired unprecedented turnout among black voters," Mielke writes. "This time around, polls show Clinton leading Sanders among African-Americans by a 3-to-1 margin." Chris Covert, the state director for Sanders, thinks those numbers are misleading. Covert told Mielke, “I think the number of people you see in polls are still trying to make up their minds . . . and we’ve got one hell of a field campaign.” (Read more)

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