Horry County Democrats, Republicans say DNC move to SC stresses diversity, could bring more candidates
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Democratic National Committee is making South Carolina the first state in the Democratic primaries.
President Biden proposed the change in December, saying states with more racially diverse populations should have a say earlier on in elections. For several election cycles, Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have been the first to cast their ballots.
“In New Hampshire and Iowa, the Democratic electorate is less than five percent Black,” said Drew Kurlowski, an associate political science professor at Coastal Carolina University. “In South Carolina, the Democratic electorate is about 50% Black, right, which is much more representative of the nation as a whole.”
Kurlowski said because Democratic candidates won’t have other states to focus on before South Carolina, they will most likely have more time to spend in areas outside of more populated Charleston or Columbia.
“I think we might see candidates getting into some of the more rural areas that might not be visited that often, maybe some of the redder areas like up here in Horry County,” he said.
Chairs of both Horry County Democrats and Horry County Republicans believe the DNC’s decision can only help energize voters, especially when nationally recognized candidates visit South Carolina.
“I think that the DNC made the right decision,” said Alester Linton-Pryor, chair of the Horry County Democratic Party.
“It’s worked well for Republicans, so I’m assuming that they want the same thing,” said Reese Boyd, Horry County Republican Party chair.
Horry County has long been a Republican stronghold.
“I don’t see the tide shifting in that regard anytime soon, but it does help when you have nationally prominent candidates coming to town to visit,” said Boyd.
And, both parties said they will invite every candidate they can.
“We believe in our candidates, and we want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to hear them, put a face to them,” said Pryor.
“Any time we can help our Republican Party members meet candidates, that helps them make an informed decision,” said Boyd.
The Democratic primaries will be held in South Carolina in early February, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada. Dates for the Republican primaries have yet to be decided.
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