A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.
The Donald Trump presidential campaign — which has upended the Republican political process by surging to the front of the national polls — announced two new hires in South Carolina on Tuesday.
Consultant Nancy Mace will be Trump’s state coalitions director, the campaign announced in a news release. Mace is perhaps best known as the first woman to graduate from The Citadel military college. She also unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s reelection bid in last year’s Republican primary last year, but finished fifth with just 6 percent of the vote.
The campaign also announced James Epley will serve as Trump’s Upstate regional director. Epley was Newt Gingrich’s state Lowcountry regional director in 2012 and was a key part of Gingrich’s somewhat-surprising upset to win South Carolina’s 2012 GOP presidential primary. South Carolina was the only other state besides Georgia to select the former Peach State congressman.
National attention was focused on Trump luring Rick Perry’s former top Iowa staffer. Sam Clovis kicked off a Trump event in Dubuque, Iowa on Tuesday just one day after resigning from his post as Rick Perry’s Iowa chairman.
Trump seems to have all the momentum on the Republican side right now, with a new Monmouth University poll released Tuesday showing him at 30 percent support among likely GOP voters in South Carolina. The closest competitor was retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 15 percent support.
— The South Carolina Republican Party sent out a message this week “reaffirming” to all presidential campaigns that any candidate who officially files for next year’s primary must also pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee. That includes no run as an independent candidate in the general election. SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore said the language is not specifically targeting any candidate, although it comes as frontrunner Donald Trump warns he will run as an indepedent if party leaders “interfere” with his campaign.
— Jeb Bush’s son will be on hand to open his father’s state campaign headquarters on Wednesday. Jeb Bush, Jr. is in Columbia to help open the new office. The elder Bush is losing ground in the Palmetto State, with Tuesday’s Monmouth Poll showing him at just 9 percent support. A Morris News Service Poll released earlier this month had him around 15 percent. Bush was in the state last week, speaking at a national security forum in Rock Hill.