South Carolina Women Talk 'Beauty Shop' Politics

Katrina Shealy

Katrina Shealy leads the Republican Party in Lexington County, S.C. Monika Evstatieva, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Monika Evstatieva, NPR
Mary Lynne Diggs

South Carolina resident Mary Lynne Diggs, a Democrat, is supporting Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president. Monika Evstatieva, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Monika Evstatieva, NPR

South Carolina voters have risen to the national spotlight with the presidential primary elections. This year, the state's political contest was moved earlier in the nominating process.

Results from past presidential elections show South Carolina's voting population with conservative leanings. Arizona Sen. John McCain recently won the state's Republican primary.

With just days before Democrat voters will cast their primary ballots, several presidential hopefuls have campaigned heavily in beauty and barber shops across the state in an aggressive attempt to persuade voters.

Beauty shops are commonly associated with close cultural connections and strong community ties, particularly in communities of color. Patrons can often be heard in spirited conversations on everything from the latest community news to, of course, politics.

In Columbia, John T. Elliott's Professional Hair Design is no exception.

On a recent visit to Elliot's shop, Tell Me More spoke to a group of women with strong opinions on issues involving the economy and health care, and which candidates they believe have the ability to lead the nation.

"If you haven't met who the next president is going to be ... it's your own fault if you live in South Carolina," says Katrina Shealy, referring to sightings of candidates in recent weeks. Shealy, who leads the Republican Party in Lexington County, chose not to disclose her choice for the GOP nominee due to her leadership post.

Also sharing their views are Ginetta Hamilton, a Democrat and supporter of Sen. Barack Obama; Mary Lynn Diggs, also a Democrat and Obama supporter; and Tressa Glover Parker, a Democrat who says she's torn between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Obama.

Written and produced for the Web by Lee Hill.

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