FLORENCE, S.C. – Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who has been criticized for his slow outreach to blacks and other minorities, is trying to rearrange his schedule to make room for events in early-voting South Carolina that honor Martin Luther King Jr.
Buttigieg’s campaign told The Associated Press on Saturday that the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, wants to attend a march and rally at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on Monday, the federal holiday that commemorates the late civil rights leader.
The Columbia event is seen as a symbolic and highly visible one for presidential candidates hoping to appeal to the black voters who make up most of South Carolina’s Democratic electorate. Among the 2020 contenders scheduled to attend are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and businessman Tom Steyer.
Buttigieg has committed to an event in South Bend on Monday but also wants to try to come to South Carolina, according to the campaign.
Polling so far in the nomination contest has shown that Biden holds a commanding lead among black voters.