A selfie with the mayor. A declaration that Rock Hill is an “amazing place.” Plenty of attention on Winthrop University’s political clout and its nationally respected Winthrop Poll.
It was clear Thursday night in Rock Hill that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is happy to be in town for the “First in the South” Democratic presidential forum. And the crowd of well over 100 people in McHale’s on Main – where Maddow broadcast her show live – was happy to have the MSNBC prime-time star in town a day early before the forum.
Winthrop political science professor Scott Huffmon was featured on the show Thursday, giving his insight into how South Carolina – a GOP stronghold – differs from its northern neighbor, North Carolina – a possible swing state in the 2016 general election.
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A segment of Maddow’s show also featured the history of the Friendship Nine, a group of black men who were arrested and convicted in 1961 during a peaceful sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter in downtown Rock Hill. Earlier this year, a York County judge vacated the Friendship Nine’s sentences, bringing national attention to the city of nearly 70,000 people.
This week, national media and politicos have again turned their attention to Rock Hill. This time, it’s because candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley will take the stage Friday night at Winthrop for Maddow to interview them live.
Here are some of the highlights from Maddow’s special broadcast from McHale’s:
Nearly 3,400 people will be inside Byrnes Auditorium at Winthrop Friday night as Maddow moderates the forum, starting at 8 p.m. She said Thursday she was thrilled how quickly the tickets were claimed online last month when the S.C. Democratic Party made forum passes available.
MSNBC will broadcast “Hardball with Chris Matthews” live from Winthrop Friday at 6 p.m. Tickets are not required.
The Democratic Party is hosting other events on campus before the forum. Afterward, Maddow and Matthews will host a post-forum political analysis show on MSNBC at 10 p.m.