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Perchik's avatar

I keep hearing that South Carolina is going to be a powerhouse in this election. Why?

Asked by Perchik (4982points) July 23rd, 2007

We've [SC] had a couple debates and now a primary. I keep hearing that SC is going to play a major role in this election. Why? I fail to see our significance.

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3 Answers

sferik's avatar

In an effort "to broaden participation to reflect the Party's rich racial, regional, and economic diversity," the Democratic National Committee's Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling voted to add South Carolina (as well as Nevada) to the list of states allowed to hold primaries (or caucuses) before February 5. Prior to this 2006 vote, Iowa and New Hampshire were the only states exempt from this rule.

The vote came in response to claims that Iowa and New Hampshire were not representative of the United States as a whole, since they are overwhelmingly white, more rural, and wealthier than the national average, and neither is located in the rapidly-growing South or West. The new rule stipulates that "South Carolina holds a primary one week after the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, January 29."

Early primaries are important in determining the outcome of elections because primary voters are inclined to jump on the bandwagon of a candidate who takes an early lead to prevent intra-Party competition and maximize Party resources for the general election. (The other side of this coin is that primaries held later in the cycle are usually inconsequential, because a candidate has already secured a sufficient plurality of delegates' votes to win.) As a result, candidates typically spend an undue (relative to the number of delegates) amount of their time and resources in early-primary states and debates are often to be hosted there.

The South Carolina Republican presidential primary is scheduled to be held four days later, on February 2. This date may change, however, since the Florida Legislature moved their state's primary up to February 29. This may lead to the two states leapfrogging for the first-in-the-South status.

Sources: http://www.democrats.org/a/2006/08/highlights_of_t.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(United_States)_presidential_primaries,_2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)_presidential_primaries,_2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwagon_effect
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/04/us/politics/04florida.html

Perchik's avatar

well thanks :D

I just find it funny that so much is going on in SC.

segdeha's avatar

I grew up in Oregon and Washington, which were never considered "battleground" states. January 2004, I moved to New Mexico (which Bush had lost by a couple hundred votes in 2000), and boy what a difference! We had all the candidates in town several times. I got to see Dean, Edwards, and Kerry in person, which gave me a great sense of the candidates I would never have had just reading about them or seeing them on TV. Count yourself lucky!

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