2024 Democratic Primaries: Race for SC Democratic Party Leadership Begins
Who is going to lead the South Carolina Democratic Party when the first-in-the-nation presidential primary arrives in 2024?
Two Black candidates, former SCDP Executive Director Christale Spain from Columbia, who would be the first Black woman to lead the state party if she won, and SCDP Black Caucus Chair Brandon Upson from York County have announced their candidacies.
Meanwhile, 3rd Vice Chair Jalen Elrod, a Greenville Democrat, told the Greenville News Monday that he was considering running.
The election will take place during the state convention in early summer, between late May and early June, and will mark the beginning of a new two-year cycle. The dates for the convention are yet to be announced.
Political parties conduct a major overhaul of their local networks biannually. Grassroots workers use this time to invite more people into the party fold by vigorously campaigning and fundraising.
It’s a momentous time for SC Democrats. Hosting the first-in-the-nation presidential primary could help reenergize the voting base.
It is unclear if current SCDP Chair Trav Robertson will run again.
Robertson, who is from Anderson, has held the top leadership position since 2017. He told the Greenville News Monday that he would comment on his plans of either endorsing a candidate or announcing his reelection bid on Wednesday.
But Robertson tweeted later on Monday, “My friend, Christale Spain’s election as chair would be a historic moment for our Party!”
Spain’s announcement was endorsed by 45 Democrats in the state. Former SC Gov. Jim Hodges, Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, D-Colleton, as well as National Committeewoman Carol Fowler, who worked beside DNC Chair Jaime Harrison to get South Carolina the earliest position in the primary calendar, were listed as supporters.
Spain has experience working as Sen. Bernie Sanders’ political director in his first presidential run. In 2020, she was Sen. Cory Booker’s SC State Political Director. During the recent election cycle, Spain was a senior advisor of Black Engagement for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Greenville Democratic Party Chair Amanda McDougald Scott also endorsed Spain, saying Spain had a lot of national, statewide and local credibility. “She’s been in the mix, knowing people and having the connections that it takes to be a state party leader,” McDougald Scott said.
The state party chair is the face of the Democrats and “being a black woman, I think that would be exciting,” McDougald Scott said. State Democrats argued that South Carolina as an early primary state brought the type of diversity to the primary process that was not typical of other first-in-the-nation primary states, McDougald Scott said.