South Carolina

Les than two weeks after the almost all white New Hampshire primary, 2020 candidates will test their appeals to black voters in the South Carolina primary on February 22. In 2016, according to a CNN exit poll, 61% of the South Carolina primary voters were black, 35% were white and 2% were Latino. South Carolina has an open primary, meaning a voter may vote in either party primary, regardless of party affiliation.

South Carolina is a very reliable indicator of which candidate will win the Democratic nomination, as the winner of South Carolina became the party’s nominee in six of the last seven contests:

  • 1992 – Bill Clinton won 69% of the vote, defeating Paul Tsongas.
  • 1996 – President Clinton was not opposed
  • 2000 -Al Gore won 92% of the vote, defeating Bill Bradley.
  • 2004 – John Edwards won 45% of the vote, defeating John Kerry, the eventual nominee
  • 2008 – Barack Obama won 55% of the vote, defeating Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.
  • 2012 – President Obama was not opposed
  • 2016 – Hillary Clinton won 73% of the vote, defeating Bernie Sanders.

Trav Robertson is the Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. The Buzz is a South Carolina political blog.

Brad Warthen ( also publishes a blog that includes a lot of politics at