Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


SC Democrats launch new push ahead of first-in-the-nation primary

Political face off in November

Photo: Moussa81 / iStock / Getty Images

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Democrats are ramping up their voter turnout efforts ahead of their inaugural first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

The Feb. 3 contest is less than two months away, and three candidates will be on the ballot: President Joe Biden, Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips, and Marianne Williamson.

Biden is expected to win - not only is he the sitting president, but South Carolina has been friendly territory, reviving his struggling campaign to his first state victory in 2020 en route to notching the party’s nomination.

But the Democratic National Committee and South Carolina Democratic Party announced Monday they are partnering for a six-figure investment to get voters to the polls for the primary, a move they say is about long-term success.

“Part of what we have to do here in South Carolina and across the country is make sure that we’re actually going and engaging with the voters. We can’t take anyone for granted. The stakes are so high for this election coming up because democracy is on the ballot,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said.

The party is hiring at what it described as an unprecedented level for this type of push: around 50 staffers, including directors for different regions of the state and one specifically for college campuses.

The get-out-the-vote campaign will include events across South Carolina with voter registration opportunities, phone and online voter outreach, and a bus tour.

“This will be the start of our work for November and elections beyond,” SCDP Executive Director Jay Parmley said.

The DNC selected South Carolina to be the first state on its presidential nomination calendar for 2024, but it also said that order isn’t necessarily permanent and will be reevaluated every four years.

The South Carolina Democratic Party said this new push is about keeping the voices of Black, rural, and Southern voters at the fore for future elections.

“This is about centering the voters who make up our extremely diverse electorate. We’re putting Democrats front and center and making sure they know that the state party is committed to providing them with the information needed to vote and have their voice heard in this process,” SCDP Chair Christale Spain said.

Harrison, a South Carolinian himself and former state party chair, said he is confident with this plan, South Carolina will get the turnout necessary to show the rest of the country that it deserves its first-in-the-nation slot in the future.

“There’s no other state that has a better track record of picking the eventual nominee than South Carolina. So given that track record, doesn’t it deserve an opportunity to be first?” Harrison said.

Spain also said she expects Biden will be campaigning in the Palmetto State at some point between now and the Feb. 3 primary.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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