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Democrats vote to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st primary voting state

For the past five decades, the primaries have started in Iowa for both the Republican and Democratic national committees. Now, the Democrats are reconsidering.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As of Friday afternoon, Iowa is out as the first primary state for Democrats. While a final decision is still to be made, it appears South Carolina will be the first to vote for Democratic presidential primaries.

In conversation with the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, President Joe Biden told party leaders privately that he would like to see South Carolina go first to better ensure that voters of color are not marginalized as Democrats choose a presidential nominee.

The opportunity excited the state's party leaders like Congressman James Clyburn. Antjuan Seawright served on Clyburn's campaign as a Senior Political Advisor during this past election cycle. Seawright says he believes starting the Democratic primaries in South Carolina is a good choice.

"Since 1992 every candidate who has won the South Carolina primary has gone on to be our Democratic nominee with one exception," Seawright explained. "So I think what President Biden did yesterday by recommending that South Carolina goes first is a reflection and a big thank you to our tradition of securing. Like I've always said, 'the road to heaven and the White House runs through South Carolina'."

Outside of politics, USC Political Science Professor, Robert Oldendick believes South Carolina hosting the Democratic primary would have big impacts, two-fold.

"There's one related to politics and another to economics The first primary is generally considered to be very important because whoever wins that primary will come out of it with some momentum," Oldendick said. "Attention gets focused on that first state, so more attention on South Carolina and the candidates come to this state, they will start coming the summer before, they bring along media with them and so it really does have a significant economic impact in the state as well."

The Republican National Committee has already decided that they will keep their primary state in Iowa just like it's been for five decades.

As for Democrats, a change could be on the horizon for 2024. The move will still have to be approved by the full DNC in a vote likely early next year, but it will almost certainly follow the rule-making committee's lead.

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