Election 2020 Gillibrand South Carolina

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand talks with Jennifer Clyburn Reed ahead of a women’s luncheon Reed hosted for her in Columbia, S.C, on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. The New York Democrat is spending three days in the critical early-voting state of South Carolina as she explores a 2020 run for president. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York immersed herself in South Carolina over the weekend, using her first trip to the state as a possible presidential contender to introduce herself to the heavily black Democratic electorate.

The three-day trip began Friday night with Democratic Party activists but quickly became a whirlwind tour of the African-American community here, from a house party and Main Street market to "chicken and waffles" and church.

It culminated with trips to several black churches in North Charleston, where Gillibrand gave fiery comments about the importance of faith.

The trip represents a significant time investment at this stage in the campaign, as a wide field of candidates sprint among early voting states to raise their profiles and attempt to differentiate themselves from one another.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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