South Carolina’s Republican Party has taken a decisive stride towards setting the date for its 2024 presidential primary. If approved, the tentative date of February 24, 2024, would grant Republican presidential candidates more opportunity to campaign in the highly significant state, known for being a key primary battleground.
The unanimous decision was made by the state GOP executive committee this past Saturday, shared party executive director Hope Walker. However, before it’s official, the decision still requires a green light from the Republican National Committee (RNC). To that end, a formal submission is to be dispatched before the October deadline.
These developments come amidst both major parties seeking to establish their voting schedules ahead of the 2024 nomination process. The RNC resolved last year to maintain its existing voting sequence – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada leading the pack. By earmarking February 24 for South Carolina’s primary, candidates will have an extended period post-Nevada’s voting on February 6 to concentrate their efforts on South Carolina, where the endorsement is crucial for Republicans vying for the party’s nomination.
“This is a great opportunity for South Carolina Republicans and for our candidates and the voters in South Carolina to get to interact one on one, not just in large masses,” Walker stated, adding a sense of personal engagement to the campaign process.
Meanwhile, Democrats grapple with President Joe Biden’s scheme to rearrange the 2024 presidential primary schedule, an initiative that has sparked considerable controversy. The Democratic National Committee’s rules panel has provided New Hampshire until September 1 to comply with novel rules, a move that hasn’t been well-received by local leaders. Georgia, another vital battleground state, is yet to determine its date for next year’s primary and hasn’t received any extension yet.
Biden’s proposal includes relieving Iowa’s caucus of its primary voting front-runner position, replacing it with South Carolina, and pushing New Hampshire’s primary vote to align with Nevada on February 6. The reordering, viewed with consternation by New Hampshire officials, stirs up the traditional primary pattern.
Under the measure approved by South Carolina’s GOP, Republican contenders must register with the South Carolina GOP by October 31. The party’s first debate is slated for August 23.
Moreover, the executive committee has designated candidate filing fees for the presidential primary at $50,000, a number that aligns with inflation rates since 2016 when the party charged candidates $40,000.
In 2015, the then-chairman of the South Carolina GOP, Matt Moore, revealed a study that disclosed the 2012 primary had infused nearly $20 million into South Carolina’s economy. That figure included over $11 million in advertisement expenditure from campaigns and super PACs alone, besides spending on staffing, supplies, hotel accommodations, and meals.
“South Carolina voters are an important part of this process, and it will also help not just with the process but with the economic boom it’ll bring to our state,” added Walker.
In the same meeting, South Carolina GOP members also sanctioned the choice of former President Donald Trump as the speaker at the August 5 Silver Elephant Gala, the party’s signature fundraising event.
Finally, South Carolina’s GOP chairman, Drew McKissick, has recently been re-elected for his fourth term. In addition to this role, he concurrently serves as national co-chairman of the RNC. As 2024 draws nearer, it’s clear that all eyes will be on the primary calendar as we follow the journey toward the next presidential elections.