Mike Huckabee will speak at a rural African-American church in South Carolina on Sunday as part of a new push the former Arkansas governor is making for black voters.
The appearance comes as his campaign also releases a new web video Thursday showcasing his record with African-American voters, specifically focusing on his efforts fighting for reconciliation in the deep South.
The video opens with Huckabee talking on “Meet the Press” about how he welcomed the first African-American member to an all-white church that he pastored in his 20s. “I had death threats, there were people who said they’d leave the church, but instead I held my ground and I said ‘If he goes, I go,’” he said.
The former governor can also be seen speaking in the video in 1997 at the 40th Anniversary of Desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and opening doors to the school, along with President Bill Clinton, for the “Little Rock 9.”
As he’s often referenced in the past, Huckabee cited a CNN exit poll showing that he won 48% of the African American vote during his 1998 gubernatorial victory.
The push comes just days after South Carolina took down the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds, a major moment in a racial debate that dominated the country following the Charleston church massacre in which nine black parishioners were killed.
Huckabee saluted Gov. Nikki Haley for calling for the removal of the flag, just days after he said on “Meet the Press” that the flag issue was “not an issue for a person running for president,” adding it was up to South Carolina to decide.
Huckabee joins a chorus of other Republican presidential candidates who are making more vocal efforts to reach out to African-Americans. Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie and former Gov. Jeb Bush have especially been touting their appeal with nontraditional Republicans, while former Gov. Rick Perry delivered a big speech earlier this month calling for the GOP to boost its focus on targeting black voters.
Huckabee speaks at Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Manning, South Carolina on Sunday.