On January 8, President Joe Biden addressed churchgoers at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. As one of the three candidates on the ballot for the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, he is anticipated to secure a substantial victory in the party’s inaugural 2024 election.
The Democratic National Committee’s calendar adjustment last year positioned South Carolina as the first-in-the-nation primary for Democrats. Polls opened at 7 a.m. ET and are set to close at 7 p.m. tonight, following the commencement of early voting on Friday.
President Biden is widely regarded as the frontrunner for victory in the primary. The state’s Republican primary is scheduled for February 24.
There is speculation that some Democratic voters might abstain from participating in the primary and choose to vote during the Republican event to support the state’s former Gov. Nikki Haley, potentially challenging the GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.
South Carolina adopts an open primary system, allowing voters to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary, but not both. Voting in one primary does not impact eligibility for participating in a different party’s state primary in June.
Nikki Haley, targeting both Biden and Trump, released campaign ads titled “Grumpy Old Men Say What?” on Saturday, aiming to emphasize the ages of both candidates.
The primary in South Carolina carries 55 delegates, and alongside President Biden, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and author Marianne Williamson also appear on the ballot. Delegates will be distributed based on the candidates’ share of votes.
Rep. Dean Phillips secured inclusion on Wisconsin’s Democratic primary ballot in April after winning a court battle on Friday.
A total of more than 4,000 delegates will be awarded across the country, with a candidate needing about 2,000 delegates to secure the nomination.
In the 2020 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, with a turnout of 539,263 votes, President Biden received over 48%, totaling 262,336 votes.
While voters in New Hampshire delivered a victory for Biden through a write-in campaign last month, the primary on Saturday will be the first to officially allocate delegates. Notably, the Democratic Party is not seating delegates for the New Hampshire primary due to the state breaking from the party’s primary schedule, despite state law requirements.
The state legislature in 1975 mandated New Hampshire to have its leadoff status written into state law, and traditionally, Iowa and New Hampshire have held the first and second positions in the primary schedule. Officials in New Hampshire are optimistic that delegate seating may occur, a resolution seen in previous disagreements between states and the party over primary schedules.