If it were up to South Carolina, there's no question who would be Kerry's running mate.

One vendor sold out of "Kerry-Edwards" buttons at the state's Democratic Party convention Saturday amid the hoopla surrounding John Edwards (search), the state's popular native son and U.S. senator from North Carolina. Edwards addressed a cheering crowd of about 2,000 Saturday at South Carolina's Democratic Party Convention in Columbia.

Edwards folded his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in March after winning only South Carolina's primary the month before. But his performance on the campaign trail and his optimistic message fueled talk that Kerry should add him to the Democratic presidential ticket.

Kerry isn't saying much about his preferences for a running mate, but his campaign has begun background checks on Edwards, retiring Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt (search) and two-term Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (search).

Edwards said Sunday that he won't discuss the process either.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (search), often mentioned as a possible No. 2 because of his Hispanic heritage, visited Columbia on Friday to attend the Democrat's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.