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Harris files paperwork putting Biden on South Carolina ballot to kick off 2024 Democratic primary

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COLUMBIA, SC — Vice President Kamala Harris flew to South Carolina on Friday to file paperwork putting President Joe Biden on the state’s 2024 presidential ballot, which will open the Democratic presidential primary thanks to an overhaul of the calendar led by the White House intended to better empower black voters.

Harris was joined in the state capitol by South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, one of the leading black voices in Congress. Then-candidate Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign was floundering after heavy losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, but rebounded with a decisive victory in South Carolina that was solidified by late support from Clyburn.

That 2020 boost gave Biden enough momentum to run wild on Super Tuesday, winning his party’s primary and later the White House. Since announcing his reelection bid in April, Biden has made far more frequent official visits to Pennsylvania — a key general election battleground — than to the states that will decide the 2024 Democratic primary.

But Harris’ visit follows recent months the vice president spent traveling across the country, including a college tour that took her to historically black colleges and universities. She seeks to drum up enthusiasm among young people and voters of color at a time when polls show even a majority of Democrats think Biden is too old to face the rigors of a second term.

“It was South Carolina that paved the way to the White House for Joe Biden and me,” Harris said.

“I’m here to thank you,” she said. “Let’s do it again.”

The 2020 Iowa caucus was marred by technical problems, and Biden last year requested that the national Democratic Party replace it in first place with South Carolina. He said black and other minority voters must play a bigger and earlier role in determining the Democratic presidential nominee.

The DNC approved a new 2024 calendar in which South Carolina’s February 3 primary will be followed three days later by Nevada’s. The schedule also places Michigan in the group of early voting states before Super Tuesday on March 5, when most of the rest of the country holds primaries.

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison joined Clyburn at the airport for Harris’ arrival in Columbia.

“The Biden-Harris coalition will be out in full force in South Carolina and will be how we defeat MAGA extremism once again in 2024,” said Biden re-election campaign spokesman Michael Tyler , in a statement, referring to former President Donald Trump, who has built a sizable lead in next year’s Republican presidential primary, and his slogan “Make American Great Again.”

Harris spoke to a packed room at the state party headquarters, flanked by cheering supporters holding Biden-Harris and South Carolina Democratic Party signs. When asked to predict how Biden would fare in the February primary, Harris responded: “We’re going to win.” »

Referring to this week’s elections, when Democrats won key elections across the country, Harris said: “We’re here with the wind at our backs, because has anyone noticed what’s happening? Tuesday passed?

She delivered Biden’s campaign materials to Christale Spain, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, who said, “I’m proud of the role the Palmetto State played in ensuring he won the White House, and I am completely honored to accept their deposit today.

Clyburn held up a pamphlet about the Biden administration’s accomplishments and highlighted efforts to reduce student debt across the country — efforts that have been limited by legal challenges. He told the vice president’s crowd, “For her to come back here today and be a part of this speaks volumes.” »

“It’s really, really an incredible display of what South Carolina is all about,” Clyburn said. Later, he and Harris stopped at the Vietnam War Memorial in downtown Columbia to help with Veterans Day.

Republicans will begin their 2024 primary with the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, and the state’s Democrats will also meet on that date, but will not immediately release presidential results to comply with party rules. New Hampshire, however, has rejected the new schedule and plans to hold its primary in January, arguing that it is the nation’s first primary in more than a century, a rule that Iowa has not could only get around because he had a caucus.

Biden will not appear on the New Hampshire ballot and has no plans to campaign there, although some of the state’s top Democrats are mounting a write-in campaign to support his re-election bid. Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, the only elected Democrat to challenge Biden in 2024, has already filed to appear on the ballots in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

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