Bernie Sanders is heading to South Carolina next month.

The independent U.S. senator from Vermont, and a self-described socialist, will be meeting with Palmetto State progressives and speaking at Penn Center, near Beaufort on Oct. 19.

Sanders will give a speech to members of the South Carolina Progressive Network during the group’s fall retreat. 

“We look forward to Senator Sanders sharing his vision for our nation with us,” said Donna DeWitt, president of the South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans, which is co-sponsoring the event. 

South Carolina is an early presidential primary state. Republicans like Rand Paul and Democrats like Joe Biden, often talked about as potential 2016 candidates, have been down here lately meeting with party poobahs and grassroots activists.

But Sanders’ trip South likely has nothing to do with that, says Progressive Network director Brett Bursey.

“He has a curiosity to try to work on a plan for white working people who are voting against their own self interests,” Bursey says. “So if you want to study that, why not come to South Carolina?”

George Hopkins, a history professor at the College Charleston and the Progressive Network’s Charleston chapter president, says he’d vote for Sanders in a primary in 2016 were he to see his name on a ballot in South Carolina. 

“We all know Sanders is the most progressive senator around,” he says. “Unless there is a progressive alternative that has some strength that could put some pressure on the mainstream candidate, that mainstream candidate will drift to the right.”