By Harriet McLeod
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A Democratic legislator in South Carolina has a message for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump: Stay out of my state.
Representative John King filed a resolution on Tuesday saying the Republican front-runner's "abrasive and racist rhetoric" did not belong South Carolina, a state that King said has worked to move beyond a past of racial intolerance.
"South Carolinians have tirelessly worked to overcome a history of hatred and bigotry and there is no place in this state for anyone who espouses hatred and bigotry as a campaign slogan," King's resolution said. "He is not welcome in the state of South Carolina."
King, a funeral home owner and member of South Carolina’s legislative black caucus, represents Rock Hill, which he said posts the motto "No Room For Racism" on all city limit signs.
"Mr. Trump must have missed them on his way into town," King said in a statement.
The resolution seems unlikely to win approval from the Republican-led House of Representatives. Even if it did, it would not have the weight of law and would have little effect on the billionaire candidate's ability to campaign in the state ahead of its Feb. 20 primary.
South Carolina is considered an important voting state with its third-in-the-nation primary election in the race for the party nomination to run for the White House in November.
Trump is scheduled to appear in South Carolina on Thursday for a Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox Business Network.
A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump in December called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States following deadly coordinated attacks in Paris by Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers. Last week, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was removed from a Trump campaign rally in Rock Hill, South Carolina, after standing in silent protest of the candidate.
For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the Reuters blog, “Tales from the Trail” (http://blogs.reuters.com/talesfromthetrail/).
(Writing by Colleen Jenkins)