COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — South Carolina will play a key role in the 2024 presidential election. We spoke with political science professors in the Palmetto State about this Monday.

“Voters have always know the importance the state plays in these races,” said Dr. Willie Black with South Carolina State University.

On the Democratic side, the state’s primary has been moved up in the nomination calendar. It will be the first primary held in 2024.

Dr. Mikel Norris with Coastal Carolina University said the change in the calendar will elevate some of the events held in the state.

“It’s actually going to be really important here in Horry County with the Galivants Ferry Stump. That’s always been important but events like that will take on national importance,” he said.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott officially announced his bid for the White House on Monday. He joins a growing field of GOP candidates running for President, which includes former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Norris and Black said its rare to see two candidates from the same state for their party’s nomination. Norris said both Scott and Haley could face an uphill battle in South Carolina.

“Both candidates have strengths they can run on, but it makes you wonder given the press and attention Trump and DeSantis have gotten over the last several years that they could make enough noise with everything else going on around them,” he said.

Black agrees.

“I could envision because of their popularity among Republican voters in South Carolina – I could imagine their votes would be split and Trump would be beneficiary of that,” he said.