Political experts explain importance of South Carolina primary

Political experts explain importance of South Carolina primary

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The political world will shine its spotlight on South Carolina this week as numerous candidates make their final push before the state’s Democratic primary on Saturday.

However, some voters might be asking “Why does the presidential primary matter?”

The question itself sparked the idea for the book titled, ”First in the South: Why South Carolina’s Presidential Primary Matters."

The co-authors from the College of Charleston we’re on hand Monday night at Coastal Carolina University to discuss the importance of the primary with young voters.

Political scientists, Gibbs Knotts and Jordan Ragusa, started researching for the book after noticing that nothing was ever published on the importance of the South Carolina primary.


South Carolina is the first primary in the south and is a state with a large group of minority voters.

Ragusa said in years past, the winner of the South Carolina primary usually goes on to represent their party in the presidential election.

“In South Carolina, about 60% of the electorate is African-American. It’s also important in terms of timing because South Carolina comes right before the Super Tuesday states, many of whom are in the south,” said Ragusa.

With a more diverse group of voters, South Carolina offers a new type of test for the candidates than Iowa or New Hampshire.

“People are going to drop out after South Carolina, there’s going to be fewer people and South Carolina has an added effect because a whole pack of southern states go after it,” said Knotts.

With younger voters becoming more politically active, a new generation of voters could play a huge factor in who claims the White House in 2020.

“Youth voter turnout is on the rise,” said Ragusa.

Though Joe Biden seems to have a slight edge in South Carolina, nothing is for certain until an official winner is named on Saturday.

”What we know about primaries is they are highly volatile and a lot of voters are still making up their mind,” said Ragusa.

WMBF News will bring you the election results as they come into our newsroom during the primary on Saturday.

We will also have team coverage from Charleston on Friday as President Donald Trump as he holds a rally in North Charleston ahead of the primaries.

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