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Harris campaign office opens in Florence
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Harris campaign office opens in Florence

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Juan Rodriguez, national campaign manager for Sen. Kamala Harris from California, speaks at the opening of the campaign's Florence office Tuesday evening.

FLORENCE,  S.C. – The manager of Sen. Kamala Harris’s campaign says it is looking at the Pee Dee as a place to expand the electorate.

National campaign manager Juan Rodriguez spoke about the campaign’s strategy for the region after the opening of the senator’s Florence campaign office at 181 N. Dargan St. Tuesday evening.

“One thing that has been key to us and we feel like it’s going to be a big part of our success is we recognize that we need to expand the electorate,” Rodriguez said. “So often, campaigns focus on just trying to target likely voters or in matching them up against a voter file. For us, we recognize that there is a unique opportunity in this moment in history to bring and register a lot of new voters.”

Florence County, he added, would provide an example by knocking on doors and visiting the community.

The campaign’s first priority, Rodriguez said, was to build the infrastructure for the campaign by putting organizers in communities including some, like the Pee Dee, that have been taken for granted by other campaigns.

Rodriguez said part of the reason he was visiting the office opening was to ensure the resources are in place for a successful campaign.

The campaign has invested heavily in the Palmetto State: holding over 150 organizing events statewide to engage supporters by knocking doors and making calls and sending text messages as part of its second Weekend of Action last weekend, holding over 40 debate watch parties during the most recent debate, and opening offices in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville.

According to a previous report from the Post and Courier , the Harris campaign has the largest staff, 50, of any campaign working in the state.

“We’ve been here twice,” Rodriguez added.

Harris herself has visited the state 10 times during her campaign including stops in Hemingway to eat at Scott’s Barbeque, Florence and Hartsville for town halls, and visiting an African-American-owned business in Marion County. Before her Florence town hall, Harris also attended church in Florence.

Rodriguez said the campaign was going to “double down” on the amount of time Harris spends in the state in the coming weeks.

He said the race for the Democratic nomination started earlier and included more candidates than before.

Harris declared her campaign for president on Jan. 21.

She has been a member of the Senate since 2017. Prior to the Senate, she served as 32nd California attorney general from 2011 to 2017. She served as district attorney for San Francisco from 2004 to 2011.

Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., to a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father. She is a graduate of Howard University and the University of California Hastings School of Law.

The South Carolina Democratic Primary is scheduled for Feb. 29.

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Government and Politics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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