South Carolina, Georgia hold key roles for 2024 election

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 3:55 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - South Carolina and Georgia are poised to play some influential roles in the 2024 presidential election.

The Democrats in February picked the Palmetto State for the first presidential primary, stripping Iowa and New Hampshire from the distinction they held for decades.

And Georgia won’t be far behind.

That means voters in the two-state region could set the tone for the rest of the campaign, making or breaking a blue candidate.

Being first in the Democratic primary shakes things up for South Carolina.

Democrats in Aiken say they believe President Joe Biden is the frontrunner for their party, but still see the importance of Palmetto state voters getting the first chance to vote.

Ann Willbrand, 2nd vice chair of the Aiken County Democratic party, said: “I think it’s great that South Carolina is now the first in the nation because the South Carolina Democratic Party electorate is much more representative of the Democratic Party as a whole than Iowa or New Hampshire.”

South Carolina will be first on Feb. 3, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on Feb. 6, then Georgia on Feb. 13.

On the Republican side, South Carolina has not one but two presidential candidates.

Andrew Siders, vice chair of Aiken County Council and the Aiken Republican party, sees the uniqueness in having two candidates from the state already.

“It’s not very typical, coming from a state but that seems to be where we’re where we’re at, and it’s going to be a very interesting ride,” said Siders.

Sen. Tim Scott on Monday officially launched his bid for the White House, following former Gov. Nikki Haley by a few weeks.

Both Haley and Scott carry historic potential, with Haley aiming to become the first woman and first person of Indian descent to win the presidency. Scott would be the first Black Republican president.

University Of South Carolina Professor Robert Oldendick says this race could take a turn this year.

“It’s going to be different than the past elections. It’s going to be more difficult to predict there’s going to be the possibility of something very unusual happening given the current front-running candidates,” said Oldendick.

Georgia, meanwhile, already has a high profile after the pivotal role it played in ensuring Joe Biden’s presidential victory in the 2020 election.

And the Peach State promises to be a partisan battleground once again, judging from the 2022 Senate showdown between Democratic victor Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

Add to that the fact GOP Gov. Brian Kemp hasn’t ruled out running for president as an anti-Trump Republican.

A poll released last week by Landmark Communications found Kemp ranking third among Georgia Republicans in their choice for president, with 7% compared to 40% for Donald Trump and 32% for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Kemp’s rating puts him ahead of Haley, who got 5.9%.