COLUMBIA, SC (WCBD) – The South Carolina Republican Party could be shaking things up for the 2020 presidential primary, choosing to forego it all together in order to have full backing for President Trump.
The move comes on the heels of a debate unfolding in New Hampshire, where some of Trump’s backers are pushing for the removal of longstanding rules that prevent the state party from taking sides in a primary, the Associated Press reports.
South Carolina holds the first-in-the-south primary and typically shapes the outcome of the presidential campaign cycle.
Charleston County’s GOP Chairman, Larry Kobrovsky on Thursday said for now, “The only thing that is certain is the Republican National Committee has set February 29 of 2020 as a date for the Republican primary for president.”
For that not to happen, he said there would have to be a vote of the State Executive Committee of the Republican Party, which is made up of the county chairman of every county.
“There has been no discussion with President Trump’s team or the Republican National Committee – or anybody – not to have a primary,” he said.
He went on to say, “I guess the discussion came up because you have an incumbent President and my understanding is, historically, when President Regan ran for the second term, President Bush ran for the second term and the same thing with the Democrats for President Obama, no presidential primaries were held in the state, so I think that is where this is coming from – but there is historical precedent.”
Kobrovsky said he thinks it would be wrong to suggest that such a decision has been made or even contemplated right now.
He said one of the benefits of having a presidential primary is having a way to build your base.
In Charleston County, Kobrovsky said 50,000 more people vote in the last Republican primary than the Democratic primary. “It created great enthusiasm,” he said, noting that primary that time had so many candidates. “It would be different this time because you would have the incumbent, the advantage would be there wouldn’t be any opposition.”
On the other hand, Kobrovsky said the president and nominee process belongs to the people.
“I think as a county chairman, you like having the excitement of a primary. I think President Trump is very popular in the state of South Carolina and a party primary is a way to get the base involved and motivated,” he said.