GALIVANTS FERRY, S.C. (WCBD)- Since the late 1800s, South Carolina Democrats seeking office have traveled to a small community along the Pee Dee River to state their case to potential voters.
Their destination is the longest-running Democratic stump speaking event in the country held in Galivants Ferry, S.C., an unincorporated community on the western edge of Horry County.
Now regarded as the kickoff to the Democratic political season, the Galivants Ferry Stump Meeting has been hosted by the same family, the Hollidays, since its inception.
It all began in 1876 when Confederate General Wade Hampton spoke to local democrats in Galivants Ferry as a candidate for Governor. Four years later, local businessman John Holliday invited all county Democrats to speak on his property.
The meeting adopted its name from an early American political tradition where candidates would stand on sawed-off tree stumps to address the public. Nowadays, candidates still give these repetitive “stump speeches” across the country during their campaigns.
The Galivants Ferry Stump Meeting only drew in around 65 citizens in its early days, but 146-years later thousands of people attend the event.
In 2019, the Holliday family invited presidential nominees to attend for the first time, including President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and former NY Mayor Bill de Blasio. Other notable figures to have previously participated include Sen. Fritz Hollings and Sen. Strom Thurmond before he switched parties.
While Galivants Ferry has cemented its place in American politics as a must-go among Democrats, South Carolina Republicans are hoping to follow the lead with their own stump meeting this year.
The first “Old Fashioned Stump Rally” hosted by the Dorchester County GOP is being held on Saturday and features Republican nominees from across the state.
Governor Henry McMaster is headlining the event, but Secretary of State Mark Hammond, Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, Congresswoman Nancy Mace, Katie Arrington, and Lynz Piper-Loomis are also scheduled to speak.
The public will have a chance to hear from 18 other Republican candidates for Congress, Attorney General, State Superintendent of Education, State House, and County Council, as well.
The “Old Fashioned Stump Rally” begins at 1 p.m. at the Dorchester County GOP headquarters in Summerville.