First in the South: Why South Carolina’s Presidential Primary Matters, H. Gibbs Knotts and Jordan M. Ragusa
The first book on South Carolina’s presidential primary was long overdue, because the Palmetto State is arguably the most important in picking occupants of the White House. Consider that, since the South Carolina Republican Party established itself as the South’s first primary contest in 1980, in six of seven contests, the victor subsequently claimed the GOP nomination. Similarly, although it was not until 2004 that South Carolina Democrats finally established their presidential primary as “First in the South,” the Palmetto State winner in four of five contests went on to capture the Democratic nomination. Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire can boast of such success in picking major party nominees, and, of course, one must win a major party nomination to have any shot at winning the presidency.
In First in the South, College of Charleston political scientists H. Gibbs Knotts and Jordan M. Ragusa provide the most comprehensive accounting of South Carolina’s role in nominating major party presidential contenders. This is an excellent primer on the importance of South Carolina and, by extension, the South in selecting contemporary presidents. Additionally, the study is not confined to just one southern state and its regional influence on the presidential selection process. N
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