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TWISC: 2020 Democrats Descend on South Carolina

July 1, 2019 - Posted in This Week in South Carolina by Sean Scott

Reporters Jamie Lovegrove with The Post and Courier and Meg Kinnard with The Associated Press talk with host Gavin Jackson about recent developments with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who recently flocked to South Carolina for a weekend of political activities. 

Highlights:

  • Rep. Jim Clyburn’s World Famous Fish Fry saw 22 candidates speak to the public for a “generous moment” and featured 4,400 pounds of fish to eat
  • The South Carolina Democratic Party Convention conveyed a common message of unity, but some candidates had memorable moments, such as Sen. Kamala Harris and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • The Charleston Post and Courier’s most recent poll found former Vice President Joe Biden as the frontrunner in the state with 37 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren got 17 percent support, followed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 11 percent. Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders tied with nine percent, and Sen. Cory Booker got five percent in the poll.

Summary:

The South Carolina Democratic Weekend kicked off on Friday, June 21 with Rep. Jim Clyburn’s Fish Fry. The Associated Press’ Meg Kinnard described the atmosphere at the Fish Fry as festive and spoke about how the long-running event is a chance for everyday people who don’t pay for the state party fundraising dinner to still see presidential candidates.

The energy of the Fish Fry continued into the next day at the state convention. The first speaker of the day, Sen. Kamala Harris, entered the convention hall to the sound of the Lower Richland High School drum line. The Charleston Post and Courier’s Jamie Lovegrove pointed to Sen. Harris’ entrance as one of the standout moments from the convention, but also mentioned former Sec. Julian Castro’s mention of saying adios to President Trump on Inauguration Day got one of the biggest cheers of the day.

While these are the types of events where there is no clear winner, Lovegrove said Rep. Clyburn and the state party had a good weekend. “In a lot of ways, I would say Jim Clyburn and the Democratic Party [won]. They had a lot of pressure on them. They are not used to this type of thing. This has been a state that has been historically conservative, Republican-dominated for many years now. They are not used to this spotlight nationally, and everything seemed to go, more or less, according to plan,” Lovegrove said.

Kinnard agreed, saying the 151 credentialed press was huge for a medium-sized media market like Columbia. However, she said the controversy over MSNBC’s exclusive rights drew criticism to the party and took away from some of the positivity. “That was an issue, and it frankly detracted a lot from the events leading into the weekend, so I would imagine that the party is going to be at least having some conversations about ‘OK, well...perhaps...how could we have dealt with that piece of it a little bit better?” Kinnard said.

Looking forward:

Currently, 25 Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination to be the 46th President of the United States, but look for that number to dwindle as the primary season continues. The South Carolina Democratic Primary is on February 29, 2020. The General Election will be November 3, 2020.

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