By Jarrett Renshaw
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden heads to South Carolina on Saturday to celebrate elevating the state and its large base of Black voters to kick off the Democratic Party’s calendar of contests to nominate its candidate for the November election.
Biden – who currently looks likely to be set for a rematch of the 2020 election contest with Donald Trump – will also make the case that the Republican former president is a threat to communities of color.
The president is set to headline the South Carolina Democratic Party’s dinner to mark the party’s first official primary next month.
He will explain why he ousted the less diverse states of Iowa and New Hampshire from the top of the party’s nominating calendar and offer up an early glimpse on how he plans to attack Trump on his record with Black Americans, a campaign official said.
“President Biden has long believed that our nominating process should reflect our party’s rich diversity, and he’s following through on that commitment and on his commitment to Black voters, the backbone of the Democratic Party,” said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Quentin Fulks.
The Democratic primary in South Carolina is on Feb. 3 and Biden is expected to win handily as he carves an easy path to the party’s nomination.
The president has been getting mixed reviews from some Black voters who came through for him in 2020, including discontent over his failure to deliver on voting rights legislation and other issues. Although Democrats have no hope of winning the state in the November election, Biden hopes the focus on South Carolina will help bolster support among Black voters.
The dinner marks the end of a busy week for the Biden campaign as surrogates like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Marcia Fudge, head of the agency that oversees federal housing, crisscrossed the state to mobilize voters for the upcoming primary.
On Friday, Jill Biden headlined an event in West Columbia featuring teachers from the influential National Education Association(NEA), among the largest labor unions in the country.
NEA president Rebecca Pringle said contrast between the president and Trump could not be starker.
“We need to listen to what Trump says because he already has told us what he’s focused on, and it is not on students or the people who have dedicated their lives to educating them,” Pringle said.
The first lady reminded attendees that South Carolina catapulted her husband to the White House in 2020 by giving him a big win in the primary that forced his rivals out of the race.
(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Frances Kerry)