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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will speak at a "Medicare for All" rally in Columbia on Oct. 20.  AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File

Bernie Sanders will bring his fight for universal health care to a South Carolina rally later this month, in a move that puts him in a key 2020 presidential primary state during a busy midterm election season.

The independent U.S. senator from Vermont will speak at an Oct. 20 rally in Columbia for a "Medicare for All" rally. 

The two-hour event will begin at noon at Koger Center for the Arts, according to an announcement from Our Revolution South Carolina, a group that grew out of his unsuccessful bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.

The group has also endorsed Democrat James Smith for governor, but Smith was not listed as one of the event's speakers.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster took aim at Smith for his connection to the Sanders group in a digital ad buy this week.

At the end of the video, Smith is seen standing alongside Sanders beneath text that says, "James Smith: Bringing Bernie Sanders to South Carolina."

Our Revolution Board Member and South Carolina activist Lucero Mesa said the local group invited Sanders to speak.

Sanders joins a list of potential 2020 presidential contenders who this year have traveled to or have said they plan to visit the Palmetto State.

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Mesa said in a statement that Sanders' visit is about addressing the nation's broken health care system.

"This rally is an opportunity to hear from Sen. Sanders and health care experts about how economic forces are leaving millions without access to doctor visits, urgent medical care, and life-saving prescriptions, while the medical industry makes billions in profits," Mesa said in a statement.

"This is especially true in South Carolina where the Republican-held Legislature and Trump-backed governor have continuously and strongly rejected Medicaid Expansion, leaving 100,000 South Carolinians without coverage and thousands more completely uninsured."

In addition to Sanders, five other individuals are slated to talk including Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator and current president of Our Revolution, and South Carolina state Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg.

Tickets are available online at http://bit.ly/2OgPCpz.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.