Democrats hold first presidential primary in South Carolina

Washington, Feb 4 (IANS): The first Democratic primary of the 2024 US presidential election is underway in South Carolina on Saturday, with polling places open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time.

US President Joe Biden is expected to breeze through the South Carolina primary and the other Democratic primaries as he faces longshot challenges from US Representative Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williamson.

Iowa and New Hampshire have long been the first US states to hold presidential contests in election years but the Democratic National Committee restructured the party's primary calendar, making South Carolina the first primary state in 2024.

Biden resurrected his 2020 presidential campaign after a strong primary performance in South Carolina, where African American voters play an outsized role in Democratic politics. That victory sent him on a path to the Democratic nomination and the White House.

"The truth is I wouldn't be here without the Democratic voters of South Carolina, and that's a fact," Biden said recently at a political event in Columbia, South Carolina.

According to a recent Emerson College Polling survey, the economy is the "most important issue" facing South Carolina, at 40 per cent, followed by immigration, education, threats to democracy, healthcare, crime, housing affordability, and abortion access.

Republicans kicked off their voting season with the Iowa caucus in January, followed by the primary in New Hampshire. Former US President Donald Trump won both contests, leaving Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and onetime South Carolina Governor, as his lone challenger in the GOP race.

The US presidential primaries will last through June.

The Republican National Convention, in which delegates will officially select the party's presidential nominee, will be held in July, while the Democratic National Convention will take place in August. The 2024 Election Day falls on November 5.



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