Neha Patil (Editor)

South Carolina Democratic Party

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Jaime Harrison

Assembly leader
J. Todd Rutherford

Senate leader
Nikki G. Setzler

Political position

915 Lady Street, Suite 111 Columbia, South Carolina

Liberalism Progressivism Social liberalism

The South Carolina Democratic Party is the South Carolina affiliate of the United States Democratic Party. It is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina.



The Democratic party thrived during the Second Party System between 1832 and the mid-1850s and was one of the causes of the collapse of the Whig Party.

Between 1880 and 1948, South Carolina's Democratic Party dominated state politics. The 1948 Presidential Election marked the winds of change as Strom Thurmond ran on behalf of the State's Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats). He accumulated 71% of the votes cast in South Carolina that year.

Nearly 100 years after the conclusion of the Civil War (around 1949), the state was still preoccupied with racial tension, which muffled the debate about the most important issue, the declining condition of the state's economy. During this time, all politics revolved around the Democratic Party. Furthermore, a single faction typically dominated local politics. South Carolina was locked into the traditionalistic culture dominant throughout the South. Political change was often resisted by South Carolina's agrarian leaders. The agrarian leaders were middle class farmers that were thought to maintain the status quo of the Democratic Party. The lower class was generally not allowed to vote.

In addition to resistance towards political change in the mid-1900s, South Carolina's Democratic party also prevented African Americans from voting in the primary election. This prevented African Americans from having a meaningful vote in the election. Without a Republican candidate, the Democratic Primary election acted as the Presidential election.

A major shift began in South Carolina politics with President Lyndon B. Johnson's Civil Rights Act of 1964. Over time the SCDP shifted in focus from maintaining white landowner control to representing labor rights, protection of the South Carolina's natural resources, and protecting the civil rights of blacks and other minorities.

Current elected officials

The South Carolina Democratic Party controls none of the statewide offices and holds the minority in both the South Carolina Senate and the South Carolina House of Representatives. Democrats hold one of the state's seven U.S. House seats.

U.S. House of Representatives

  • James Clyburn, 6th District
  • Statewide offices


    State Legislature

  • Senate Minority Leader: Nikki G. Setzler
  • House Minority Leader: J. Todd Rutherford
  • Officers and staff

    As of August 2016, the state party officers were:

  • Chair: Jaime Harrison
  • 1st Vice Chairman: Kay Koonce
  • 2nd Vice Chairman: Melissa Watson
  • 3rd Vice Chairman: Lauren Bilton
  • Secretary: Sh'Kur Francis
  • Treasurer: Kendra Dove
  • State Party Staff:

  • Executive Director: Christale Spain
  • Political Director: Jessica Church
  • Finance Director: Joseph Schweitzer
  • Field Director: Ernest Boston
  • Members of the Democratic National Committee

    Three members of the South Carolina Democratic Party also serve on the Democratic National Committee. These are:

  • State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter
  • Don Fowler
  • Carol Fowler
  • Clay Middleton
  • References

    South Carolina Democratic Party Wikipedia

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