‘Let’s do it again’: VP Harris files S.C. paperwork for Biden
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Vice President Kamala Harris flew to South Carolina on Friday to file paperwork putting President Joe Biden on the 2024 presidential ballot of the state, which will lead off the Democratic presidential primary.
Harris was joined at 10 a.m. by South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, one of the leading Black voices in Congress.
“South Carolina, who understood and believed in the promise of America and the importance of optimism, fueled by a sense of hope and understanding of what is possible, then fought for our democracy and for the right of all people to participate,” Harris said inside the South Carolina Democratic headquarters.
Clyburn serves as the co-chair of the campaign, and Harris called jim one of the administration’s closest advisers.
The filing was originally just Clyburn but Thursday night Harris took to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to ask if Clyburn had “room for one more.”
“South Carolina Democrats are the backbone of the Democratic Party,” Harris said on X.
Clyburn thanked South Carolina’s Democrats for laying the foundation for Biden and Harris to become nominees for the party.
“And so thank you so much for all that you do for this party and for this country, " Clyburn said. “All that you did to make Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the nominees of this party and all that you did to lay the foundation for them to become the leaders of the free world.”
Clyburn also took a dig at Harris’s alma mater, Howard University, which lost to Clyburn’s alma mater South Carolina State in football 27-24 Saturday.
“I’m glad she did not come at this time last week because the Bulldogs showed the Bison a little thing or two last Saturday,” Clyburn said.
“It started here in South Carolina. The work that we have accomplished that will benefit people whom we may never meet people who may never know any of our names,” Harris said. “So much of it can be attributed to the fight, to the community and to the perseverance of the people in this room and in this state. So I’m here to say thank you. I am here to say let’s do it again. We will do it 2024 There is so much at stake.”
Harris said the administration had momentum saying voters should let them continue their work.
“We understand that our democracy will only be as strong is our individual willingness to fight for it,” Harris said. “And so fight we will and when we fight we win.”
South Carolina will be the first state to hold its primary after a Democratic calendar shake-up in February when it replaced Iowa.
The party sees the change as a way to empower Black and other minority voters critical to its support base.
Speaker and author Marianne Williamson became the first Democrat to file for the primary Monday.
Then-candidate Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign was foundering after big losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, but rebounded with a decisive South Carolina win that was solidified by Clyburn’s late endorsement.
That 2020 boost gave Biden enough momentum to romp through Super Tuesday, clinch his party’s primary and later the White House. Since announcing his reelection bid in April, Biden has made far more frequent official visits to Pennsylvania — a key battleground in the general election — than states that will decide Democrats’ 2024 primary.
The DNC approved a new 2024 calendar where South Carolina’s primary will on Feb. 3 will be followed three days later by Nevada. The schedule also moves Michigan into the group of early states voting before Super Tuesday on March 3, when most of the rest of the country holds primaries.
DNC chair Jaime Harrison joined Clyburn at the airport for Harris’ arrival in Columbia.
“The Biden-Harris coalition will be out in full force in South Carolina and will be how we defeat MAGA extremism once again in 2024,” Biden reelection campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement, referring to former President Donald Trump, who has built a commanding early lead in next year’s Republican presidential primary, and his “Make American Great Again” slogan.
Harris spoke in a crowded room at state party headquarters, flanked by cheering supporters holding Biden-Harris and South Carolina Democratic Party signs. Asked to predict how Biden would do in February’s primary, Harris responded, “We’re going to win.”
Referring to this week’s elections, when Democrats won in key races across the country, Harris said, “We are here with the wind at our back, because, did anyone notice what happened on Tuesday?”
She turned the Biden campaign papers over to Christale Spain, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party who said, “I am proud of the role that the Palmetto State played in ensuring that they would go on to win the White House, and I am completely honored to accept their filing today”
Clyburn held up a brochure of the Biden administration’s accomplishments and highlighted efforts to reduce student loan debt around the country — efforts that have been limited by court challenges. He told the crowd of the vice president, “For her to come back here today and be a part of this says a whole lot.”
“This is really, really an incredible demonstration of what South Carolina is all about,” Clyburn said.
Republicans are leading off their 2024 primary with the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, and the state’s Democrats will caucus then, too, but not release the presidential results immediately to comply with party rules. New Hampshire, however, has rejected the new calendar and is planning to hold its primary in January, arguing that it has held the nation’s first primary for more than a century, a rule that Iowa was able to circumvent only because it had a caucus.
WCSC’s Steve Ardary contributed to this report.
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