COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Nevada and South Carolina next month, two of the earliest states on the Democratic presidential calendar, where she’ll court voters she and President Joe Biden hope to win over.
Harris will meet with members of the powerful casino workers’ Culinary Union in Las Vegas on Jan. 3, which offers one of the most powerful endorsements in Nevada Democratic politics, the White House said Thursday.
Three days later, she plans to head to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, home of the Democrats’ leadoff primary, to address an annual women’s retreat of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest historically Black denomination in the U.S.
Harris has been touring the country to tout the administration’s accomplishments, most recently angling to energize younger voters during a multi-stop college tour. Next month she plans to embark on a nationwide series of events to rally voters to give Biden a second term and regain full control of Congress.
Both South Carolina and Nevada are critical early-voting states for Biden and Harris as they seek reelection next year. The visit will be Harris’ seventh as vice president to South Carolina, where Black voters play a critical role in Democratic politics — one of the reasons for the White House-led schedule overhaul that placed the state’s primary first on the 2024 voting calendar on Feb. 3.
New Hampshire, which has traditionally voted first, is still holding its contest on Jan. 23. Biden isn’t participating or campaigning there, and the state is risking possible penalties over its decision.
The White House says Harris’ stop in Nevada will be her ninth while in office. The state, which has a 29% Latino population will hold its primary three days after South Carolina on Feb. 6.
When she ran for president in 2019, Harris held a town hall meeting with the union’s rank-and-file members. Though most of the 2020 Democratic candidates held private meetings with the union’s leaders, Harris was the first to get a coveted invite to speak to members. Ultimately, the union didn’t endorse anyone in the Democratic primary.
Culinary’s 60,000 members are mostly women and immigrants — immigration reform, health care and worker issues are among the union’s top priorities. Last month, the union ended a lengthy labor dispute that had brought the threat of a historic strike to the Strip, voting to approve their contract agreement with casino giant Caesars Entertainment. The White House said Harris intends to celebrate the victory with union members.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP
Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press