Texas Governor Rick Perry took his recently-announced presidential campaign to downtown Greenville on Friday, touring businesses in the heart of the city and choking Main Street's sidewalks with onlookers, supporters and media members.
Perry, who confirmed he was running for his party's nomination for the presidency last Saturday, was swarmed by reporters, passersby, supporters and cameramen as he toured downtown with Greenville Mayor Knox White. Greenville is one of the stops in his two-day, four-city bus tour through South Carolina.
"I'll be here as often as I can," Perry said as he stepped out of Greenville City Hall at the beginning of the tour.
Perry strolled through Greenville at a brisk pace with White, ducking into several businesses along the way to shake hands with locals and sign autographs. It's an opportunity White said he'd afford any major political candidate.
"Job one is size up candidates as they come into town, and secondly is to introduce candidates to our area," White said.
White used the example of the GOP debate held at the Peace Center in May that was featured by Fox News as an example of how the city can use the political firestorm of a campaign season to draw attention to it.
"Economically, the amazing story we have in Greenville is a good story to tell, and it's good for them to see it first hand," White said.
"Absolutely it brings more attention to the area in terms of helping spread the message about what a special community we have, and that means economic development, people, all that," he added.
The importance of South Carolina as a crucial red state isn't lost on Perry, who visited Florence, Columbia and Greenville in the course of one day.
No candidate has won the Republican presidential nomination without first winning the South Carolina primary since 1976.
Perry will also be in Greenville on Saturday morning, when he'll visit Tommy's Country Ham House. That visit is scheduled for 9 a.m.
Perry will head to Rock Hill after his Greenville event.