Huckabee to stop in York on Tuesday

YORK -- The Palmetto Room in York is prepping for a presidential hopeful.

Republican Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, will campaign in York County on Tuesday and plans to stop in York and Fort Mill.

He'll be at The Palmetto Room for a meet-and-greet from noon until about 1:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

York Republicans, who say their city is often overlooked by candidates who stop in Rock Hill and Fort Mill, are excited about the visit.

"We're going to try to roll out the red carpet for them," said Kenn Doster, York City Club president and Palmetto Room owner. "We're going to try to put the flags in the downtown when he comes through and that type of thing."

This is the first presidential hopeful to come to York in recent years, locals say.

"I don't think any presidential candidate has come to York since Strom Thurmond was running for president in the 1970s," said John Hunter, a longtime York County Republican.

Huckabee, who started his campaign behind more well-known candidates, has gained in popularity after coming in second in the recent Iowa Straw Poll. The former Baptist pastor, who plays in a rock band called Capitol Offense, has stressed that he's working on a low budget.

"I can't buy you -- I don't have the money," he told Straw Poll voters. "I can't even rent you."

While still considered a longshot by many, if he does well in South Carolina, there's a possibility Huckabee could make it to the top tier of candidates, Doster said.

Huckabee also will stop at Beef 'O' Brady's in Baxter Village in Fort Mill at 3 p.m. and will then go to a Charlotte Knights baseball game.

Joe St. John, York County Republican Party vice chairman for events, helped arrange the schedule for Huckabee's visit. As York County continues to grow, he said, winning voters here could mean a lot to Huckabee.

"This is going to be one of the hot areas that could carry an election for him," St. John said.

Huckabee already has won some York County Republicans.

"He's a capable man," Hunter said. "He doesn't say what's popular; he says what he believes."

At noon Tuesday, Huckabee will be at The Palmetto Room, 22 N. Congress St., York. The event is free and open to the public.

At 3 p.m., he will stop at Beef 'O' Brady's in Baxter Villiage in Fort Mill.

At 5:30 p.m., he will be at a private reception at Knights Stadium that will be followed by a general reception at 6:30 p.m.

He will throw the first pitch for the Charlotte Knights game, which starts at 7:15 p.m.

For more information about the visit or to RSVP for the receptions at Knights Stadium, contact Joe St. John at (803) 371-0083 or e-mail fortmillgop@hotmail.com. RSVPs must be received by today.