South Carolina Republicans Set February 24 Date for First-in-the-South Presidential Primary

South Carolina GOP has set February 24 as the date of their first-in-the-south presidential 2024 presidential primary, which, if approved, will give the party hopefuls for the White House additional time to campaign in the southern state. 

The state Republican executive committee voted unanimously to approve the measure on Saturday, said Hope Walker, party executive director. The selection still needs approval from the Republican National Committee to be official, and Walker said that a formal submission would be sent before the October deadline. 

The move comes as both major political parties make moves to solidify their voting calendars ahead of the 2024 nominating process. 

Last year, the RNC voted to maintain its voting order, with Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada ahead of other states. By setting the vote in South Carolina for February 24, Walker said candidates would have more time after Nevada votes on February 6 to focus their attention on the state, where support is essential for GOP candidates competing for their party’s nomination. 

“This is a great opportunity for South Carolina Republicans and for our candidates and the voters in South Carolina to get to interact one-on-one, not just in large masses,” said Walker.

Democrats continue to struggle with President Joe Biden’s plan to overhaul his party’s 2024 presidential primary schedule. Friday, the rules panel for the Democratic National Committee gave New Hampshire until September 1 to comply with new rules that leaders there fiercely oppose. However, the committee did not immediately offer such an extension to another battleground state, Georgia, which has yet to set its primary date next year. 

One issue is Biden’s plan to strip Iowa’s caucus of the traditional first primary

One issue is Biden’s plan to strip Iowa’s caucus of its traditional position leading off primary voting and replace it with South Carolina, which would vote on February 3, 2024. After Iowa’s caucus, New Hampshire has long held the nation’s first primary. However, under the new calendar, it would vote next, along with Nevada, on February 6 — a change New Hampshire officials have decried.

GOP candidates must file with the South Carolina GOP under the approved measure by October 31. The Republican party’s first debate is scheduled for August 23. 

The executive committee also set filing fees for candidates for the presidential primary at $50,000; a figure Walker said tracks along with increases in inflation since 2016, when the party charged candidates $40,000. State law requires that parties pay $20,000 per candidate to the South Carolina Election Committee, which runs the primaries for the state. 

In 2015, then-South Carolina Republican Chairman Matt Moore released a study that showed that the 2012 primary boosted the economy of South Carolina by almost $20 million — of that super PACs and campaigns had spent over $11 million in ads alone, on top of overall expenditures for supplies, food, staffing, and hotel rooms.

“South Carolina voters are an important part of this process, and it will also help not just with the process but with the economic boom it’ll bring to our state,” said Walker. 

During the meeting Saturday, South Carolina Republican members also approved the selection of President Donald Trump as the speaker at the August 5 Silver Elephant Gala, the party’s signature fundraiser. 

South Carolina GOP chairman, Drew McKissick, was recently reelected to a fourth term in office. He currently also serves as national RNC co-chairman.