Thursday, February 11, 2016

GOP Candidates Focus Now On South Carolina

State’s important constituencies include evangelicals, military veterans, retirees and working-class voters
With Iowa and New Hampshire in the rearview mirror, the Republican presidential race now shifts to South Carolina.
Larger and more diverse than the first two presidential contests, the state has a number of important constituencies in a Republican primary, including a large population of evangelicals, military veterans, retirees, professionals and working-class voters. The state also is known for an active and influential business community, which generally backs business-friendly Republicans.
Most of the GOP field arrives on Wednesday. Real-estate developer Donald Trump has scheduled an evening rally at Clemson University, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to make stops in Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will cross the state, stopping in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston on Wednesday. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will make two stops along the coast. Their arrival kicks off a week-and-a-half-long sprint to the Feb. 20th primary election.
Consultants generally break the Palmetto State politically into three distinct regions: the upstate area around Greenville and Spartanburg, the midlands region around the state’s capital of Columbia, and the coastal regions.
“There’s an old joke in South Carolina,” said Walter Whetsell, a longtime political consultant in the state who is currently unaffiliated with any campaign. “You ask people from the upstate where they go to church, you ask people in the midlands where they work, and you ask people in the low country what they’re having to drink.”
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