FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg during a campaign stop at a dairy company in Londonderry, N.H. The relatively few Democratic presidential candidates from red states have taken different approaches to convincing voters that a familiarity with Donald Trump country could help them denying him a second term. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Buttigieg focusing on black voters in South Carolina trip

May 05, 2019 - 3:48 pm

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Continuing his outreach to African American voters, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is bringing his campaign back to South Carolina, the first state where black votes play a major role in the presidential primaries.

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, starts a two-day swing in the state on Sunday with a town hall in North Charleston, where African Americans make up nearly half the population. On Monday, he's holding a meet and greet in Orangeburg before sitting down with community leaders in Columbia.

Buttigieg has said he's making a conscious effort in his campaign to focus on issues important to black voters. This past week he met with the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights leader, at the Harlem soul food restaurant Sylvia's. Buttigieg said Sharpton encouraged him "to engage with people who may not find their way to me, who I need to go out and find my way in front of."

Earlier Sunday, Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, joined the large crowd at former President Jimmy Carter's Sunday school class in rural South Georgia. At Carter's invitation Buttigieg stood and read from the Bible as part of the lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains.

Elsewhere in campaigning Saturday by Democratic presidential candidates:

MICHAEL BENNET

The latest Democrat pursuing the presidential nomination is trying to distinguish himself as someone "who's going to level with the American people about why our system doesn't seem to work for them."

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that his time in Washington has helped him know how to get things done and what needs fixing.

He says it's "a disgrace that we lost" to Donald Trump in 2016, adding Democrats must find an approach to deny him a second term.

Bennet says it seems "fairly clear" from special counsel Robert Mueller's report that Trump "committed impeachable offenses," but for now the senator favors continued congressional investigations.

He thinks Attorney General William Barr should resign, saying Barr "has behaved like Trump's criminal defense lawyer" rather than the nation's attorney general.

JOE BIDEN

Democrat Joe Biden is wrapping up his first presidential campaign trip to South Carolina by worshipping at a prominent African American church in West Columbia.

Sitting on a front-center pew, the former vice president and his wife, Jill, received a standing ovation when the Rev. Charles B. Jackson of Brookland Baptist Church introduced them as "Dr. Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden."

The 76-year-old Catholic candidate smiled and waved.

"Dr. Joe, that was some major applause, my brother," Jackson said.

Jackson praised his congregation as already approaching 100 percent voter registration and participation. He encouraged parishioners to "take somebody else to the polls with you."

South Carolina hosts the South's first presidential primary and is the first state in the Democratic nominating process where black voters wield considerable influence.

BETO O'ROURKE

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is repeating his calls to impeach President Donald Trump and drawing a distinction between himself and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who's declining any rush to proceedings.

The former Texas congressman spoke with reporters on Sunday after a town hall at a former livestock auction space in rural Shenandoah, Iowa.

O'Rourke said special counsel Robert Mueller's report makes impeachment more necessary than ever. He said "proceedings in the House ensure that more of these facts come to light, ensure that the Senate can make a very informed decision about this president."

Asked about Pelosi cautioning against doing so O'Rourke answered, "That's fine. We're two different people."

O'Rourke said he really respects "the speaker and what she's been able to do, but when asked my opinion I've got to give my opinion not anyone else's."

BERNIE SANDERS

Sen. Bernie Sanders is announcing a sweeping agriculture and rural investment plan that would change farm subsidies and break up major agriculture monopolies.

Sanders is set to unveil the plan in Osage, Iowa, a town of fewer than 4,000 residents.

The plan includes a number of antitrust proposals, including breaking up existing agriculture monopolies and placing a moratorium on future mergers between big agriculture companies.

It also proposes major changes to the current farm subsidy system toward what the plan calls a "parity system." That plan seeks to ensure farmers are "guaranteed the cost of production and family living expenses," though the plan doesn't include details on how.

Sanders would also classify food supply as a national security issue.

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Bill Barrow in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP