Newsom praises Biden’s ‘loyalty’ in prioritizing South Carolina over New Hampshire

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) praised President Joe Biden’s dedication to South Carolina, as the president once again capitalized on the state’s electoral prowess in the Democratic Party’s first nomination race.

“He is in the White House. He became President of the United States because of South Carolina, and he did something unusual throughout my lifetime. He expressed loyalty by suggesting that this should be the first primary, the first in the country, to get things started,” Newsom told ABC News’s Jonathan Karl in an interview that will run on Sunday.

Last year, the Democratic National Committee placed South Carolina first on the party’s presidential nomination calendar, breaking decades of precedent that had Iowa and New Hampshire as early-voting states.

Under the DNC’s schedule, the New Hampshire Democratic primary would have taken place on February 6, three days after South Carolina’s on February 3.

However, New Hampshire Democrats rejected the DNC’s proposal, citing state law, which requires the state’s primaries to be held at least seven days before any other state’s. As a result, Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign chose not to run in the state. The Democratic and Republican primaries were held on the same day, Jan. 23.

Biden nonetheless won New Hampshire as a Democratic write-in candidate with 53% of the vote, outperforming his closest longshot competitor, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who received 19%. Former President Donald Trump outperformed former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley by 11%.

South Carolina, like California, has an open primary, which allows voters to participate in either the Republican or Democratic primaries. When asked about the possibility of getting Democrats to vote for Haley in her home state to stop Trump, the California governor said they shouldn’t get engaged in the Republican race.

“I think you get exposed when you try to game a system,” Newsom said in a statement. “I play by the existing rules — And to the extent that that opens itself up under the current playbook — fine.”

“But, at the end of the day, you do not take your voters for granted. That is why I am here. “Joe Biden does not take voters for granted,” Newsom continued.

Biden’s triumph in South Carolina propelled him to the White House in 2020, with a roughly 30-point margin in the first-in-South primary. His win was credited to a large number of black votes, with 61% supporting Biden.

Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D-SC) endorsement boosted Biden in the state; Clyburn was the highest-ranking black Democrat in Congress until Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) became House Minority Leader last year.


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