Pete Buttigieg tries to solve his South Carolina puzzle

[OPINION] ROCK HILL, S.C. — Why was South Bend, Indiana, mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg in South Carolina over the weekend, with a busy schedule that included tailgating at a historically black college homecoming and delivering remarks at an AME Zion worship service?

“To say that I want to be the president who can pick up the pieces, that we’ve got to be ready not just to defeat this president but to guide the country forward,” he confidently told me. “I have my eyes on that moment and what America’s going to need.”

It’s quite a tall order for a candidate polls show in single digits in the first-in-the-South primary, where he is still largely unknown to the African Americans who make up the majority of the state’s Democratic voters, even as his campaign coffers and Iowa poll numbers rise. In a weekend packed with public appearances, he and a diverse group of campaign workers and surrogates, including some from South Bend, were trying to catch up — and distribute those “African Americans for Pete” buttons.

POLITICAL WRAP: al-Baghdadi Military Operation; Mayor Pete Campaigns in Rock Hill

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Donald Trump is declaring that the leader of Islamic terrorist group ISIS is dead.

And Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg spent the weekend campaigning in South Carolina.

Click above for more in this week’s political wrap with WCCB Charlotte political contributor Mary C. Curtis.

President Trump, Democratic Challengers to Attend Criminal Justice Forum in South Carolina

Mr. Trump will participate in a criminal justice forum Friday at Benedict College in Columbia.

POLITICAL WRAP: President Trump Speaking in SC at Criminal Justice Reform Event

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Happening this week: President Donald Trump is visiting South Carolina as part of a bi-partisan event on criminal justice reform.

The White House confirms Trump will appear Friday at a forum at Benedict College in Columbia. The event marks Trump’s first visit to a historically black college or university.

Some of the democrats vying to challenge him are also planning to attend… including front-runners Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

Hopes for 2020 run high in these two states, and the stakes are real for both parties.

Can Bernie Sanders change his luck in the South?

OPINION — Bernie Sanders spent the weekend on a Southern swing, which makes sense. The Vermont senator’s failure to connect with enough core Democratic voters the last time around — in the South, that means black voters, and black women in particular — stalled his campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. He hit a wall in the early primary state of South Carolina, losing badly to Hillary Clinton, and he never recovered.

What’s Next for Nikki Haley?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Nikki Haley Resigns at UN Ambassador. Why Now and What’s Next for Her?

Nikki Haley rose quickly in politics, from governor of South Carolina to a player on the international stage as ambassador to the United Nations. She became a standout in the Trump administration, one of few high-profile women serving. She says she is stepping down at the end of the year because it’s time for a break, though many are speculating on the timing and what her future political plans may be. At a White House appearance with Trump on Tuesday, both expressed admiration for one another — and she denied plans for a 2020 run for office. (Mary C. Curtis)

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster Holds Off Primary Opponent: The Trump Effect?

One of President Donald Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters won a key primary runoff Tuesday, as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster fended off a challenge from a self-made millionaire to secure the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The vote tested the heft of Trump’s endorsement in South Carolina, where McMaster was elevated to the governorship he’d long sought early last year following the departure of Nikki Haley to serve as U.N. ambassador.

Opinion: Showing Your Gun — A New Campaign Strategy?

A U.S. House race in South Carolina may depend on how you define the word “brandish,” as in, what exactly do you call it when Republican Congressman Ralph Norman pulls out his gunin a Rock Hill diner meet-and-greet with constituents?

Though the state’s law enforcement division and attorney general have concluded “this is not a prosecutable offense,” Republicans and Democrats are weighing the political plusses and minuses of the recent event in light of a midterm race that gets more interesting by the day.

GA and SC Special Elections

CHARLOTTE, NC –Republicans now hold all four congressional seats up for grabs in this Spring’s special elections.

Republican Karen Handel won Georgia’s 6th congressional district in Tuesday’s special election. The House race between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff was the most expensive in history with a combined $50 million. Ossoff hoped to flip the long-held Republican congressional seat left vacant when Tom Price became Health and Human Services Secretary.  However, the victory margin was smaller than Republicans have maintained in the district in years past. This special election gained national attention because it was largely seen whether President Trump’s low approval ratings will impact the 2018 mid-term elections.

In South Carolina, Republican billionaire developer, Ralph Norman, won the 5th congressional district. Norman beat Democrat billionaire, and former Goldman Sachs tax adviser, Archie Parnell. The seat was previously held by Mick Mulvaney, who now serves in the Trump cabinet.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis weighs in.