By ROBERT YOON (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the primary time ever, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination formally kicks off this Saturday in South Carolina, the state that resurrected then-candidate Joe Biden’s foundering presidential marketing campaign in 2020 and put him on a footing to win his occasion’s nod and, ultimately, the White House.
Unlike 4 years in the past, President Biden now appears to be like to South Carolina voters to cement his marketing campaign because the overwhelming favourite, versus rescuing it from near-oblivion.
At Biden’s urging, the Democratic National Committee rearranged the 2024 main calendar and slotted South Carolina as the primary contest of the marketing campaign season, citing partly the state’s much more racially numerous voters than the standard first-in-the-nation states of Iowa and New Hampshire, that are overwhelmingly white. New Hampshire held a leadoff main anyway in defiance of the DNC, however with out the president’s or the nationwide occasion’s backing and no delegates at stake, the competition amounted to little greater than a non-binding magnificence contest. Biden received New Hampshire by a large margin nonetheless after supporters mounted a write-in marketing campaign on his behalf.
Challenging Biden on the South Carolina poll are U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and writer Marianne Williamson. Phillips obtained about 20% of the vote in New Hampshire, whereas Williamson obtained about 4%. Williamson was a part of the crowded 2020 subject that included Biden, however she dropped out earlier than the primary contests.
The South Carolina main would be the first alternative this 12 months for Democratic candidates to start accumulating the practically 2,000 delegates wanted to clinch the occasion’s nomination.
Here’s a take a look at what to anticipate on Saturday:
The South Carolina Democratic presidential main will likely be held on Saturday. Polls shut statewide at 7 p.m. ET.
WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT
The Associated Press will present protection for the Democratic presidential main. It is the one contest that night time. The poll will record three candidates: Biden, Phillips and Williamson.
WHO GETS TO VOTE
South Carolina has an open main system, which implies any registered voter might take part in any occasion’s main. Voters might solely take part in a single occasion’s presidential main, so those that vote on Saturday might not vote within the Republican contest on Feb. 24.
DELEGATE ALLOCATION RULES
Proportional by statewide and congressional district votes with a 15% threshold. South Carolina’s 55 pledged Democratic delegates are allotted based on the nationwide occasion’s normal guidelines. Twelve at-large delegates are allotted in proportion to the statewide vote, as are seven PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” The state’s seven congressional districts have a mixed 36 delegates at stake, that are allotted in proportion to the vote ends in every district. Candidates should obtain a minimum of 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegates and 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates in that district.
Biden’s decisive victory within the 2020 South Carolina main presents some helpful benchmarks in figuring out the winner on Saturday night time as votes are being counted.
In 2020, then-candidate Biden carried all 46 counties within the state. His strongest geographic areas have been within the Pee Dee and Waccamaw River valley areas within the state’s jap area and in central South Carolina, together with the state capital of Columbia. He obtained about 54% of the vote in each areas. He was additionally the best choice amongst Democratic main voters within the state’s Democratic and Republican strongholds, in addition to within the extra reasonable areas in between.
But the important thing to Biden’s 2020 win in South Carolina was his power among the many state’s Black voters. AP’s VoteCast survey of 2020 South Carolina main voters discovered that 64% of Black voters supported Biden, in contrast with 33% of white voters. Black voters made up about half of the Democratic main voters that 12 months, based on VoteCast.
If Biden matches or outpaces his efficiency in counties with massive Black populations in preliminary outcomes all through the state, it’s a robust indicator of one other decisive win within the Palmetto State.
One notable distinction is that Biden confronted a way more aggressive subject in 2020, which included Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who have been the highest two vote-getters in each the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire main that 12 months. Biden obtained 49% of the vote towards six different energetic candidates, in addition to 5 former candidates who have been nonetheless listed on the poll. He greater than doubled the 20% that second-place finisher Sanders obtained.
This 12 months, Biden faces fewer and fewer aggressive challengers and enters South Carolina because the overwhelming front-runner, coming off a 44-point victory over his nearest competitor within the New Hampshire main on Jan. 23.
The AP doesn’t make projections and can declare a winner solely when it’s decided there is no such thing as a state of affairs that might enable the trailing candidates to shut the hole. If a race has not been referred to as, the AP will proceed to cowl any newsworthy developments, equivalent to concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will clarify that it has not but declared a winner and clarify why.
WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE?
There are about 3.3 million registered voters in South Carolina. Voters don’t register by occasion. Turnout within the 2020 Democratic main was about 16% of registered voters. It was about 13% within the 2016 main.
Saturday’s occasion would be the first presidential main held within the state since a brand new early voting legislation was enacted in May 2022. The legislation permits voters to solid ballots in particular person as much as about two weeks earlier than Election Day with out an excuse. In the 2016 Democratic main, when voters had to supply an excuse to solid an absentee poll, about 14% of votes have been solid earlier than Election Day. In the 2022 midterm primaries, after the brand new legislation went into impact, pre-Election Day voting was at about 21%.
As of Monday, practically 24,000 voters had already solid their ballots.
HOW LONG DOES VOTE-COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?
In the 2020 South Carolina Democratic main, the AP first reported outcomes at 7:09 p.m. ET.
Primary night time tabulation ended at 12:17 a.m. ET with 98% of votes counted.
ARE WE THERE YET?
As of Saturday, there will likely be 198 days till the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and 276 days till the November common election.
Follow the AP’s protection of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.