A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.
A pair of longshot presidential candidates who are seeing their popularity slowly yet steadily rise this summer — one Republican, one Democrat — will be in the Midlands this weekend.
Vermont’s senior U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is scheduled to speak at events in Columbia, Florence, and Rock Hill on Saturday. Meanwhile, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson will meet with members of the local Republican Party in Aiken that morning.
A new Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday found for the first time that more people supported Sanders in Iowa than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The margin of 41 percent for the Vermont senator and 40 percent for Clinton was within the poll’s margin of error, but is the latest sign of what has been a steadily eroding lead for Clinton.
However, that poll may also be an outlier, as a CNN/ORC poll released on Friday morning found Clinton had a 10-percentage point edge over Sanders (37%-27%) nationally. The wild card may be whether or not Biden enters the race, as the Quinnipiac Poll found 12 percent support for the vice president, while CNN showed 20 percent.
Sanders will hold a rally at Benedict College starting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. The historically-black institution on the edge of downtown Columbia has often been a welcoming host to national Democrats. Biden and President Obama spoke in the school’s gum on two separate occasions within the past year. Sanders will then travel to the Florence Civic Center town hall meeting that begins at 4:00 p.m. He will then wrap up with another town hall at Winthrop University in Rock Hill starting at 7:30 p.m.
Carson has also seen his stock rise over the last month. Most polls in September have showed him as the only other candidate coming close to challenging Donald Trump, although he usually still trails by double-digits in those polls. RealClearPolitics polling averages show Carson picking up about 15-20 percent support as voters who are seeking a political outsider not named “Trump” try to coalesce behind him.
Carson will be the guest speaker at the Aiken Republican Party’s monthly luncheon on Saturday. The event begins at 11:00 a.m. at Newberry Hall.
— Later this month, Trump will make his first trip to the Charleston area this campaign cycle. The S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce says the real estate mogul will address more than 500 small business owners at an annual meeting in North Charleston on September 23. The event at the Embassy Suites hotel will feature Ohio Gov. John Kasich earlier that morning. One of Clinton’s campaign advisors will address the conference the following day. Trump is also scheduled to speak in Columbia later on September 23.
— With each passing day, it’s appearing less and less likely that Biden will enter the race. The Vice President told new late night TV host Stephen Colbert on Thursday that he doesn’t believe a candidate should seek the office unless they are “willing to give it 110 percent of who they are,” but said he is not at that point yet. Biden said he is still grieving the loss of his son Beau, who died from complications of cancer earlier this year.