South Carolina Republicans are ready — and very eager — for the party’s presidential candidates to come swinging through the state, in the fight for the state’s January 21 primary.
“There are 17 days until South Carolina becomes the spotlight of the entire world once again,” state GOP chairman Chad Connelly boasted, on a conference call with reporters. “We’re gonna preserve our unbroken tradition. for 30 years now, we’ve picked the eventual nominee on the Republican side.”
Connelly also gave a tabulation of the visits that all of the remaining candidates have made to the state, since last spring: Santorum 26 visits, Gingrich 19, Romney 11, Huntsman 10, Perry 6, and Paul 4.
Later in the call, Connelly noted that some candidates are already headed to the state over the next week. “Now that is a little bit surprising to me, a little bit, because i know they’re also gonna be going to New Hampshire, with that primary next week,” said Connelly, so that means South Carolina is getting some attention even ahead of schedule.
“There is no clear frontrunner. Anyone can win this in the next 16 days,” said Connelly, saying that the outcome will depend on retail politics, and the state’s voters getting to know the candidates.
The state’s delegate allocation process could be described as winner-take-almost-all. Out of the 25 total delegates, 11 will be awarded winner-take-all to the statewide winner. Of the remaining 14, each of the state’s seven Congressional districts will be assigned two delegates, awarded to the candidate who carries that district.
So in theory, if one candidate swept all the districts in winning the primary, he will get all 25 delegates. But in a closer race, the winner would get a strong majority of the delegates, while lesser candidates might be able to swipe a couple of them based on pockets of stronger support.