The state’s status of holding the first-in-the-South presidential primaries should be protected by law, say South Carolina Republican lawmakers. Tuesday, GOP House members introduced a bill ((H. 5081) to give statutory authority to either party chair to set its primary date before any other Southern State.
Currently, the parties set their own, but according to House Speaker Bobby Harrell, the bill is modeled after New Hamphire’s presidential primary state law: “It gives our chairman a little more ammunition when he or she is making the argument that we have to be first in the South.”
SC GOP Chair Chad Connelly reset the date of the state’s presidential primary after a legislative panel in Florida moved its primary ahead of South Carolina’s. Because of that, the national party penalized both states by taking away delegate votes. Now it is up to the new presidential nominee to “forgive” that move and restore the state’s votes.
Harrell says the state must continue its 30 years of being first in the region, and protect the millions of dollars that come with that distinction.
And if another state’s legislation passes the same law? “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” says Harrell.
AUDIO: Rep. Harrell discusses the measure with South Carolina Radio Network’s Ashley Byrd (4:25)