In a strategic move aimed at providing GOP candidates with ample campaign time in the influential first-in-the-South state, South Carolina Republicans have officially designated Feb. 24 as the date for their 2024 presidential primary. This decision, unanimously approved by the state GOP executive committee, awaits final confirmation from the Republican National Committee, with a formal submission set to be sent before the October deadline.
As both major parties work on solidifying their voting calendars for the upcoming nominating process, the RNC’s previous vote to maintain the existing voting order stands, with Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada leading the way. By scheduling South Carolina’s primary for Feb. 24, Republican candidates will have additional time after Nevada’s vote on Feb. 6 to concentrate their efforts on the state. Given the crucial importance of support from South Carolina voters in the Republican nomination race, this extended focus could make a significant impact.
Hope Walker, the party’s executive director, emphasized the opportunity this presents for South Carolina Republicans, candidates, and voters to engage on a personal level rather than in large gatherings. With candidates able to interact one-on-one with voters, the primary campaign becomes more intimate and allows for a deeper understanding of local concerns and aspirations.
Meanwhile, Democrats are grappling with President Joe Biden’s proposed overhaul of the party’s 2024 primary schedule. The Democratic National Committee rules panel has granted New Hampshire until Sept. 1 to comply with new rules, despite fierce opposition from state leaders. However, Georgia, another crucial battleground state, has not received an immediate extension, as it has yet to set its primary date for next year.
At the heart of the matter is Biden’s plan to replace Iowa’s caucus, historically the first event in the primary voting process, with South Carolina. Under this new calendar, South Carolina would hold its primary on Feb. 3, 2024. New Hampshire, which has traditionally held the nation’s first primary after Iowa’s caucus, would vote next, alongside Nevada, on Feb. 6—a change that has been vehemently opposed by New Hampshire officials.
According to the approved measure, Republican candidates must file with the South Carolina GOP by Oct. 31. The executive committee has also established candidate filing fees for the presidential primary at $50,000, reflecting inflation increases since 2016, when the party charged $40,000. State law mandates that parties pay $20,000 per candidate to the South Carolina Election Commission, responsible for managing the state’s primaries.
A study conducted by former South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore in 2015 revealed that the 2012 primary had generated nearly $20 million for the state’s economy. Campaigns and super PACs alone spent over $11 million on advertisements, in addition to other expenditures like staffing, supplies, accommodations, and dining. Walker expressed confidence that South Carolina voters would play a pivotal role in the primary process and highlighted the economic benefits that will accompany this crucial event.
In addition to the primary preparations, the South Carolina GOP members also announced the selection of former President Donald Trump as the keynote speaker at the Silver Elephant Gala on Aug. 5. This prestigious event serves as the party’s signature fundraiser, further highlighting Trump’s enduring influence within the Republican Party.
Drew McKissick, who recently secured a fourth term as South Carolina’s GOP chairman, currently holds the position of national co-chairman of the RNC, solidifying the state’s significance in the national political landscape.