Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Brad Hutto didn't mince words when describing his party's new office on Hilton Head Island.
"It's the fanciest party office I've been to, and I've been to a lot," Hutto said.
The Beaufort County Democratic Party opened the new southern digs -- featuring wood floors and donated wooden furniture -- in Port Royal Plaza in style with a grand opening Friday. The event was attended by both Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate. The party plans to hold a grand opening of northern Beaufort County campaign headquarters Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 705 Carteret St., between Prince and Duke Streets in Beaufort.
Hutto, running against Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Joyce Dickerson, facing Republican Sen. Tim Scott, both spoke to the crowd of about 40.
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Dickerson said she will advocate veterans' benefits and equal pay for women if elected. She would also protect the minimum wage and prevent privatization of Social Security, she said.
Dickerson, a Richland County councilwoman for the past nine years, defeated former York County Councilman Sidney Moore in the June primary. Dickerson said she spent the weeks leading up to the primary driving around the state in her green Ford Explorer, putting up signs at intersections.
Hutto, who has spent 19 years in the state Senate, said he also would push for veterans' benefits and the minimum wage. However, he dedicated most of his speech to stressing the importance of voter turnout to the Democratic Party in the November general election.
Hutto, who lives in Orangeburg, topped businessman Jay Stamper in the June primary for the party nomination to challenge Graham.
Hutto said the party has more volunteers now than it did on Election Day 2010. Those volunteers will call voters to get them to show up at the polls, he said.
"If the Republicans win, we didn't lose, we beat ourselves," Hutto said.
John Giles, the county party's South of the Broad chapter president, said the office's preparations began in late July, converting a former yogurt shop into southern Beaufort County campaign headquarters through the November election.
All of the furnishings were donated by party members, and only the signs listing the Democratic candidates on the office's front window were purchased by the party, Giles said.
The office opened Monday and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Volunteers interested in helping the Democratic campaigns in the state can sign up at the office, Giles said.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.
- Dickerson, Hutto win SC Democratic nominations for US Senate, June 11, 2014