First in the South Primary to bring biggest win for candidates -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

First in the South Primary to bring biggest win for candidates

First in the South Primary coming soon. (Source: WIS) First in the South Primary coming soon. (Source: WIS)

Iowa may cast the first vote of the presidential season, but the biggest win for presidential campaigns is the First in the South Primary. This is why candidates campaigning in the Hawkeye State on Monday may be betting on the Palmetto State for an insurance policy on the trail.

The primary elections are all about the delegates. There are more than 2,400 delegates for the Republicans, and more than 4,700 for the Democrats. To win, a candidate needs just over half of their party's total group, and the number of delegates one gets in the early votes affects how many they get later.

Presidential campaigns are all about forward motion. A strong showing in Iowa could mean more supporters in New Hampshire. 

RELATED: See Iowa results through the years.

"On either side, if one candidate wins both of those, they're going to come into South Carolina with a lot of momentum, with this perception of being a winner, and they're going to be able to raise more money," Dr. Robert Oldendick from the University of South Carolina political science department.

But, especially for Republicans, South Carolina can either serve as a tidal wave or a brick wall for campaigns, because whoever wins South Carolina gets all 50 GOP delegates.

"South Carolina is the first-winner-take-all state before March 15," said Matt Moore, SCGOP chairman.

So, a candidate who has won little or no delegates in Iowa and New Hampshire can move to first place, if there is an upset at the polls.

"You can always have an upset," Oldendick said.

Which is exactly what happened in South Carolina in 2012, when Newt Gingrich took the state, and for the first time in 30 years, South Carolina picked a candidate who didn't get the eventual party nomination. Unlike 2012, where polls in South Carolina varied weekly, according to Oldendick, Donald Trump has maintained a strong lead in the Palmetto State for months.

But, Trump does seem to want to keep a tight grip on that lead, being the only GOP candidate to schedule stops in South Carolina both before the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary.

South Carolina is less than 20 days out from the Republican Primary and 27 days from the Democratic Primary, but the GOP will have at least one debate leading up to the vote Feb. 13 in Greenville.

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