Large floppy hats, flowery centerpieces, doilies and cucumber sandwiches are not common sights at political rallies these days.
More than 100 members of Beaufort County Democratic Women sought to change that Sunday, donning their fanciest attire for a tea party fundraiser and rally at the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence in Ridgeland honoring congressional candidate Bobbie Rose.
Rose, a Charleston Democrat is opposing incumbent Rep. Tim Scott, R-Charleston, in November's general election to represent the state's redrawn 1st Congressional District, which now includes parts of Beaufort County.
The event, dubbed "High Tea with High Ideals" by organizers, featured speeches by Rose and a handful of other speakers about education, health care and other issues affecting women in the upcoming election.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, a Hilton Head Island resident and member of the Democratic National Committee, urged the women to encourage those they knew to vote for Rose and President Barack Obama.
"You may know people who might ordinarily vote Republican, but if they have been paying attention to the issues and some of the things being said, they will absolutely vote for the right person if they have the right conversation," Kennedy said. "It is as important as ever that we all understand that we are not at war with each other."
Rose took the lectern last and smiled as she looked out over the audience seated in the school's cafeteria, most of whom were wearing hats, strings of pearls and brightly colored dresses, in addition to campaign buttons and stickers promoting her candidacy.
In a 20-minute speech, Rose took several shots at Scott and his voting record on women's issues such as abortion.
"My opponent has so consistently ignored us that I don't even know if he's aware that women have the right to vote," Rose said.
However, most of her remarks centered on the need for women to become more engaged politically and the ability female voters have to swing November's election in favor of herself, Obama and other Democratic candidates.
"Women make up just 17 percent of Congress," Rose said. "It is unacceptable, inexcusable and puzzling since we make up a majority of the voting public. We need to cast a vote for our interests and for our futures. We need to take our seat at the table."