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Former Vice President Joe Biden. File/Gavin McIntyre/Staff

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND — Former Vice President Joe Biden attended a fundraiser here on Monday where he spoke for 25 minutes at the home of Dr. Charles Rittenberg.

Biden invoked his ties to South Carolina, especially his relationship with the late former U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings.

“Folks, I’m going to be brief because you're standing and because old Fritz will come down from heaven and yank my neck back,” Biden said, looking upward. “By the way, I owe South Carolina more than you can imagine.”

Tickets for the private fundraiser — Biden’s first in Charleston — ranged from $500 to $2,800.

The campaign 2020 fundraiser was co-hosted by former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who in 2016 retired as one of America’s longest-serving mayors after 40 years in office.

Riley was unable to attend the event due to a previous engagement he had that day in Seaside, Fla., where he was invited to speak about hurricane preparedness and recovery. Riley sent remarks, which were read aloud by Rittenberg.

“Like you, my parents taught me to never break my word,” Riley’s said in his written comments to Biden.

Rittenberg is a maternal-fetal medicine doctor at the Medical University of South Carolina. His wife, Bené Rittenberg, is a retired vice president at LabCorp. Their daughter is Amanda Loveday, a former executive director of the S.C. Democratic Party.

There were an estimated 110 attendees.

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Watching Biden from a table in the kitchen was Felicia Sanders, a survivor of the 2015 Emanuel AME Church mass shooting in Charleston. Her husband Tyrone Sanders stood nearby. Their son Tywanza Sanders died in the shooting. 

Amanda Cunningham, the wife of U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-Charleston, was also in the crowd.

Biden said this election is unlike any in the past.

“A lot of damage has been done. A lot of damage has been done domestically, but also, also, a lot of damage has been done internationally to us,” Biden said, saying Trump’s comments after the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., shocked both national and international leaders.

In the past quarter, the Biden campaign has raised more than $126,000 from South Carolina, with about 98 percent of that being donations of $200 or less.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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.