Over the course of the past year, a handful of 2016 presidential candidates have used Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant as the backdrop for political rallies.
Candidates kept coming last week, ahead of Saturday’s primary election for South Carolina. Republican candidate Ted Cruz held a rally at the state-owned tourist attraction Tuesday, and John Kasich, also from the GOP camp, was on the property Friday.
“If they want to make a stop, we’re definitely open to it,” Patriots Point spokesman Chris Hauff said.
Last year, Donald Trump, Rand Paul and Rick Perry held rallies at the waterfront venue. Jeb Bush stopped by as well, but his visit was to shoot a video about a vintage warplane that his father flew, Hauff said.
In 2003, now-Secretary of State John Kerry announced his bid for the Democratic nomination from the USS Yorktown. Among others, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have also stopped by during their unsuccessful runs.
Patriots Point has never welcomed a sitting president or a candidate who went on to victory, Hauff said.
Candidates have paid anywhere from the high end of $2,000 to nearly $5,000 to use Patriots Point.
The home of the aircraft carrier Yorktown and the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum doesn’t pick sides, Hauff said, and it doesn’t depend on the income it makes from these high-profile political gatherings.
“This is something that’s good for us, and we’re open to anyone who wants to be here,” Hauff said. “We don’t put our eggs in that basket.”
Reach Allison Prang at 843-937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.