2020 hopeful Gillibrand immerses herself in early voting SC

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.

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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.

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