Biden Kicks Off Primary Calendar

February 2, 2024

South Carolina voters kick off the official Democratic primary calendar tomorrow under the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) new early presidential nominating order.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) last year voted to reshuffle its early nominating calendar -- updating it for the first time in 15 years to give preference to battleground states, electoral diversity and union representation. South Carolina, which delivered Joe Biden a critical comeback win in 2020, moved into the first place slot.

In 2020, Biden was in third place going into South Carolina behind Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. However, The Palmetto State and its 61% African American Democratic electorate delivered Biden a 48.7% comeback win, changing the course of the presidential race and propelling him to the White House.

2020 South Carolina Democratic primary results: Biden 48.7%, followed by Sanders (19.8%), Businessman Tom Steyer (11.3%), Buttigieg (8.2)%, Senator Elizabeth Warren (7.1)%, Senator Amy Klobuchar (3.1%) and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (1.3%). Steyer, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar dropped out in the following days and endorsed Biden.

Although Biden faces only minor opposition in the primary, he has been aggressively campaigning in the southern state in an attempt to build public momentum for his campaign, and energize the black voters at a time when his numbers are dipping among the critical constituency nationwide.

Also on the ballot: Congressman Dean Phillips (MN) and author Marianne Williamson. Phillips received 20% of the vote in the January 23 unofficial New Hampshire Democratic primary, while Williamson received about 4%. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the vote to receive any delegates.

South Carolina has long been a Republican stronghold, having voted for the GOP nominee in every presidential since 1960 -- excepting 1976, when "Son of the South" Jimmy Carter was on the ballot. Trump won the state by almost 12 points over Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

See DemDaily: 2024 Presidential Primary Calendar

The South Carolina Republican primary will be held February 24. It is a pivotal point in the calendar for former President Donald Trump and former UN Ambassador and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who needs a strong showing in her home state to achieve her goal of staying in through Super Tuesday, March 5.

According to a January 26-30 WashingtonPost/Monmouth poll, Trump was leading Haley in South Carolina 58%-32% (MOE +/- 3.9%)

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: Red State, Blue State 1/31/24
DemDaily: Convention 101 1/29/24
DemDaily: Haley Holds on After New Hampshire 1/24/24
DemDaily: DeSantis Bows Out Ahead of New Hampshire 1/23/24
DemDaily: Trump Dominates First in Nation Caucus. Iowa 1/16/24

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: DNC, AP, New York Times, Pew

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