Sanford aims to connect with South Carolina voters despite no GOP primary in 2020

The former Governor announced his 2020 presidential bid over the weekend

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —Recently, South Carolina’s Republican Party decided to join a wave of states by cancelling their primary in 2020.

Despite this, former Governor Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) is still planning on making some campaign stops in the Palmetto State.

Without a chance to see how he would fare against President Trump in his own state, Sanford says it’s disappointing for South Carolina to not have a Republican primary.

“It’s just breathtaking as to why, other than to protect the president, one would want to do that. They are doing what they perceive in the president’s best interest and what the president wants. If the President didn’t want it, they wouldn’t be having it,” Sanford said.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick released a statement saying the move prevents their voters from taking part in an “unnecessary primary.”

“With no legitimate primary challenger and President Trump’s record of results, the decision was made to save South Carolina taxpayers over $1.2 million and forgo an unnecessary primary,” McKissick said. “President Trump and his administration have delivered for South Carolinians, and we look forward to ensuring that Republican candidates up and down the ballot are elected in 2020.”

This isn’t the first time they have opted not to have a vote on their party’s nominee. The SCGOP did not hold a primary in 1984 and 2004. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Democratic Party did not hold one in 1996 or in 2012.

“In the four cases that has happened before, the party that has cancelled the primary because of the incumbent actually ended up winning,” said Bob Oldendick, a Political Science Professor at the University of South Carolina.

Oldendick says since South Carolina has open primaries, one party might seize the opportunity to pick up undecided voters.

“It might help the Democratic Party to generate some enthusiasm to get people register to vote or turnout for the primary,” Oldendick said.

As for Sanford, he says he will still meet with voters in South Carolina even though they can’t vote for him in February.

“The rest of the energy will be spent in other places just because you’ve got so much time and you’ve got to move as fast as you can, so it is what it is,” Sanford said. 

The South Carolina Democratic Party will hold their primary on Saturday, February 29.

Other states that have Republican Parties who cancelled their primaries in 2020 include Arizona, Kansas, and Nevada. Meanwhile, New Hampshire and Iowa are among the states who will not cancel their GOP primaries.

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