Harris travels to South Carolina to file Biden campaign paperwork for primary and rally key voters

Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday visited Columbia, South Carolina to file President Joe Biden’s paperwork to appear on the ballot in the state’s Democratic primary, using the moment to appeal to a key group of voters.

South Carolina is the state that turned around Biden’s fortunes in the 2020 Democratic primary and propelled him to the nomination. Biden as president put plans in motion to move the Palmetto State to the start of the Democratic primary calendar.

The trip gave the campaign the opportunity to court Black voters, an important constituency for Biden in 2020 and one that will again be key to his reelection hopes. While Biden likely won’t need a similar rescue in the primary from Black South Carolinians in 2024 as he did in 2020 – he is facing a longshot challenge from Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips but is expected to win the Democratic nomination – Black voters will form a key part of his coalition in the general election against former President Donald Trump or any other GOP contender.

The state could mark an early test of Biden’s ability to generate enthusiasm among Black voters. CNN polling released this week found registered Black voters nationwide favored Biden 73% to former President Donald Trump’s 23% - a narrowing in support compared to the 2020 contest.

In remarks after filing the paperwork, Harris reminisced on the campaign’s history with the Palmetto State.

“Just for a moment, let’s appreciate this moment in the context of history … and then putting it in the context of what happened in 2020, when it was South Carolina that created the path to the White House for Joe Biden and me,” Harris said. “South Carolina, who understood and believed in the promise of America and the importance of – with optimism, fueled by a sense of hope and understanding of what is possible, then fought for our democracy and for the right of all people to participate.”

“Because of what you did in 2020, we have then come into office and, with your support, done a number of things that had been transformational for our country because of the work of the folks here in South Carolina,” she added.

The vice president’s team had kept her travel plans largely under wraps until Friday. Her public schedule released Thursday night showed Harris was planning to be in Washington, D.C. on Friday with no public events. Clyburn was set to file the paperwork on behalf of campaign.

During her remarks, she touched on a number of priorities for the administration that she linked to the work done by activists in South Carolina on replacing lead pipes, increasing broadband internet access and reducing the price of prescription medication.

Harris also touted the administration’s work on behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and investing in minority-owned businesses.

“It started here in South Carolina,” she said.

The Biden campaign filed paperwork for the president to appear on the Nevada primary ballot last month. But Biden will not appear on New Hampshire’s primary ballot after the state decided to move forward with its primary election plans despite changes by the Democratic National Committee to the primary calendar.

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