South Carolina Presidential Primary - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/20/04

South Carolina Presidential Primary

With the Iowa caucus now a memory, the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are already campaigning in New Hampshire. Two candidates are heading to New Hampshire with new energy. Sen. John Kerry was victorious in the Iowa caucuses, and Sen. John Edwards was a close second. Howard Dean will also move on, but Rep. Dick Gephardt has decided to call it quits. Edwards, Kerry and Dean join former general Wesley Clark and Sen. Joe Lieberman in New Hampshire. Clark and Lieberman skipped the caucuses.

The New Hampshire primary takes place one week from today.

And for the first time since 1992, South Carolina will hold a Democratic presidential primary. It's the first primary in the South this year. Voters will go to the polls in two weeks to voice their opinions on who should get the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

South Carolina democrats say it's about recognition. "South Carolina, I think at long last, wants to be recognized, and one of the ways to be recognized is to hold a primary election and do it early in the election," said Fred Kuhn, chairman of the  Beaufort County Democratic Party.

Democrats all over the state are hoping this primary will encourage more people to participate in the political process. "We've all seen just yesterday how much attention Iowa and the Iowa voters got, and next week we're going to see how much attention New Hampshire and the New Hampshire voters get," said Kuhn. "In two weeks, we're going to see how much attention the South Carolina voters get."

To make sure the primary is run fairly and efficiently, poll managers attended a two-hour training session conducted by the executive director of the Beaufort County Board of Elections, Agness Garvin. "Basically, we're using volunteers at any and all elections," she said. "What you want to do is make sure that even your volunteers know what to do, how to process a voter once they get to the precinct."

During the next two weeks, South Carolina democrats expect visits from all of the candidates who survive the New Hampshire primary.

Reported by: Ron Wallace, rwallace@wtoc.com

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