Chair of Democratic Black Caucus stresses importance of African American vote in primary

The South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary is set to take place February 29

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) –With the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary just five days away, one group that is set to make a difference at the polls Saturday are African American voters.

As candidates continue to travel the state to make their case for the White House, some say the diverse makeup of South Carolina’s voters will shape more outcomes beyond what happens on Saturday.

“It’s almost impossible to gain the Democratic nomination without carrying South Carolina and you can’t carry South Carolina without the black vote,” said Johnnie Cordero, the Chairman of the Democratic Black Caucus of South Carolina.

The South Carolina Election Commission says there are more than 800,000 African American voters who have registered to vote across the state.

According to the most recent Winthrop University poll, Vice President Joe Biden holds a lead among African American voters, followed closely by Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) and businessman Tom Steyer.

Some, like University of South Carolina Political Science Chair Kirk Randazzo, attribute Biden’s success with black voters to his link to Barack Obama’s presidency.

“He has tied himself very, very closely to Barack Obama, and I think black voters still remember, still recognize what that Obama presidency meant,” Randazzo said.

However, Codero says Biden’s early edge does not mean he has the black vote locked down.

“Any candidate, and it’s not only Biden, any candidate who has the hutzpah to stand up and say that he has the black vote or she has the black vote has made a mistake, and that is going to cost them dearly,” said Cordero.

The Democratic Black Caucus has not endorsed a candidate. However, Cordero says he personally endorses Steyer, saying he has taken the time to talk to people in multiple low-income communities.

Regardless of who ends up winning Saturday, Cordero says black voters will still come out to support the party’s nominee in November.

“The Democratic candidate will have our vote and we’re going to come out just as strong for any candidate,” Cordero said.

The most recent Winthrop University poll said 85% of African Americans who responded said they will vote for the party’s nominee come November.

Seven candidates are set to take the debate stage Tuesday in Charleston. Those candidates include Biden, Sanders, Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.), and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-New York City).

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