COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — This week, New Hampshire state officials announced they are holding the state’s Democratic primary ahead of South Carolina’s, despite National Democrats reshuffling their primary calendar earlier this year.
We spoke with South Carolina Democrats about this Thursday.
“This doesn’t change anything. I think we always knew that they were going to set their day early. It doesn’t matter,” South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Christale Spain said.
New Hampshire officials attributed their scheduling decision to a state law mandating their primary to be held at least one week before other states’.
This move contradicts the wishes of national party leaders, but Spain is confident it won’t impact South Carolina voters.
“New Hampshire is really hosting a straw poll, and they don’t even have all the straws because the President is not on their ballot,” Spain said.
Back in February, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted to bump up South Carolina’s primary and make other changes to the calendar. The move was supported by President Joe Biden, who won the state’s primary in 2020 following loses in Iowa and New Hampshire. President Biden’s victory in South Carolina propelled him to the party’s nomination later that year.
DNC officials said the change was driven by a desire to provide voters of color, particularly black voters, with an earlier voice in the nomination process.
Spain emphasized the demographic importance, stating, “South Carolina chooses presidents.”
Despite New Hampshire’s decision, Spain said they are gearing up to be the first state in the nation to award delegates to the Democratic nominee. “South Carolina is first, and we’re excited about it. It’s historic, and we’re taking it very seriously,” Spain said.
Three candidates are expected to be on the ballot for South Carolina’s Democratic primary, including President Biden, Congressman Dean Phillips, and Marianne Williamson. Two others filed but were not certified.
South Carolina’s Democratic Primary is scheduled to take place February 3, 2024.