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Some Locals Leaning Toward Perry

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry holds meet and greet at Shealy's Bar-B-Que in Leesville while other candidates focus on New Hampshire.

LEESVILLE, S.C. — In a back room in Shealy's Bar-B-Que Tuesday night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry tried to gain support from local voters while his colleagues focused on New Hampshire.

Perry, who finished last in the first in the nation primary with one percent of the votes, ended the third day of a weeklong campaign blitz greeting supporters in hopes of winning the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21.

The crowd mixed with Perry supporters, undecided voters and those who just came along for the barbecue filled the Leesville eatery for a meet and greet session with the Republican presidential candidate.

Those that spoke with Patch say listening to Perry Tuesday night helped them decide what they're looking for in a GOP nominee.

Leesville resident Denise Derrick admits she likes some aspects of each Republican candidate in the race, but it’s Perry that’s starting to become her candidate of choice.

“I think coming here tonight helped me decide a little bit more that he might be the candidate that I would vote for in the primary," Derrick said. "I liked what he had to say and the fact that he has governed a large state."

"That’s one factor that makes me want to vote for him because I feel like if you can lead a large state like Texas with all the issues that they have — border security and economic issues on a large scale — he would be best to run our country.”

Chris Reagan of West Columbia said he was leaning toward Perry but hadn’t made a definite decision. 

“I came out to see what he had to say and to get to know him a little bit, to see what he stands for,” Reagan said. “He’s conservative like I am so that’s the candidate I would go after.”

After exit polls showed former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul were going to be the first and second place winners, respectively, in the New Hampshire primary, Perry said South Carolina is where it will matter.

"Tonight's results in New Hampshire show the race for 'conservative alternative' to Mitt Romney remains wide open. I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we've been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome. I believe being the only non-establishment outsider in the race, the proven fiscal and social conservative and proven job creator will win the day in South Carolina.

"South Carolina is the next stop. I have a head start here, and it's friendly territory for a Texas governor and veteran with solid outsider credentials, the nation's best record of job creation, and solid fiscal, social and Tea Party conservatism."

The has Perry coming in fifth place with four percent in South Carolina.

Perry, who ignored New Hampshire and is , will kick off another day of campaigning at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Lizard's Thicket in Lexington.

Update, 9:28 p.m.: While former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul were being projected to win the New Hampshire primary, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was wrapping up the third day of a weeklong campaign blitz to get ahead of the GOP pack.

Perry, who came in last in the primary with one percent of the vote, released a statement on New Hampshire and his push in South Carolina.

"Tonight's results in New Hampshire show the race for 'conservative alternative' to Mitt Romney remains wide open. I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we've been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome. I believe being the only non-establishment outsider in the race, the proven fiscal and social conservative and proven job creator will win the day in South Carolina.

"South Carolina is the next stop. I have a head start here, and it's friendly territory for a Texas governor and veteran with solid outsider credentials, the nation's best record of job creation, and solid fiscal, social and Tea Party conservatism."

Check back here later for more on Perry's visit to Leesville.

Original, 7:53 p.m.: While all eyes were on New Hampshire, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was greeting a crowd mixed with supporters and some undecided voters at Shealy's Bar-B-Que in Leesville.

Perry returned his focus to the Palmetto State this week after a poor finish in the Iowa Caucus and returning to Texas to rethink his campaign.

Perry has a week filled with campaigning events in an effort to gain some ground in the GOP race.

After a campaign speech, Perry briefly answered questions from the crowd on border security and "Obamacare."

Perry continued to call out former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney on his record at Bain Capital, a private venture capital firm, by calling them “vultures” for picking on weak companies.  

Perry also answered several questions from the crowd on border security and "Obamacare" before taking a few pictures and leaving.

Check back here later for more on Perry's visit.

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