Robert Burton, a candidate for U.S. Congressional District 1 in South Carolina, makes no bones about his political party. “I’m a Democrat,” he says with proud emphasis.
That direct affiliation isn’t limiting his voter appeal, however, as seen at his meet-and-greet fundraiser at Finz Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasant on Mar. 4. While the approximately 50 attendees identified themselves to come from different political parties, they all agree about Burton, and for one principal reason: trust.
Carole Benson, former chairperson of the East Cooper Democrats and a current Charleston County precinct president, describes herself as “very, very, very liberal” while extending one hand farther and farther away as a physical prop while she gives that description.
Benson supports Burton because of her trust in his know-how, she says. “He knows how to think before he acts. He knows how to look at things rationally, and to look at what’s best for the people.”
Joining the liberal Benson that evening was Jan Buckaloo, a self-described “strong republican supporter” who chose to support Democrat Burton for one simple reason: “I trust him.”
“I’m sick of the puppets of both parties,” says Buckaloo, who finds the U.S. Congress of late to make her “ashamed to be an American.”
Buckaloo believes Burton can re-build her faith in the country, though, and has rejected all of the eight Republican candidates for the same office. “I don’t care what party (Burton) is from. I know that he cares, and I know he has the knowledge.”
Sitting next to Buckaloo and nodding in full agreement is Jim Warrington, who describes himself as a “Libertarian-leaning independent.” Warrington will cast his vote for Burton at the Democratic primary on June 8, too.
Also attending the event was Erin McKee, president of the Charleston Central Labor Council, which is endorsing Burton for this Congressional race. Selecting Burton for endorsement over his two Democratic competitors, Robert Dobbs of Georgetown and Dick Withington of Myrtle Beach, was an “easy decision,” McKee said.
Burton also took opportunity to speak directly with some regular clientele of Finz, many of whom were veterans pleased to learn of his military service. Burton is a U.S. Air Force veteran with 32 years of full and reserve duties combined.
It was this service that previously delayed his political goals; Burton considered running for this same office in 2006, but was called back into full duty to transport materials to the military in Iraq at that time.
Burton officially retired from the Air Force on Jan. 1 of this year, however, with the title of Colonel. Now, he’s ready to campaign.
And at this early campaign stage, it seems apparent that Burton has already received the trust of many different voters.