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Groups reaching out to Black voters ahead of key Democratic primary

Last year, Democrats made the decision to move their first primary from New Hampshire to South Carolina.
Groups reaching out to Black voters ahead of the Democratic primary
Posted at 1:15 PM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 14:51:48-05

As the political world turns its attention to South Carolina's Democratic primary on Feb. 3, grassroots groups are going door to door to hear from voters and encourage them to voice their concerns. 

"We're actually talking to people on the ground. Organizers in South Carolina have been organizing and talking to people on the ground — not necessarily about what particular candidate or what party they like, but really about what is it that they care about," said LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter.

The organization has descended on South Carolina in the lead-up to the state's Democratic primary. They're focusing on issues that affect African Americans. 

"It's not just a matter of let's just energize people for the next election: What we want to do is ignite people to make a commitment for the rest of our lives. That's what we're going to do, is we're going to send a message loud and clear that Black voters matter," said Brown.

Last year, Democrats made the decision to move their first primary from New Hampshire to South Carolina.

SEE MORE: Experts with Politico discuss the upcoming primary in South Carolina

The change was a nod to African American voters in the Palmetto State who helped to revive then-candidate Joe Biden's struggling 2020 campaign. Biden, of course, went on to win the election. 

Pew Research data from the 2020 general election found 92% of African Americans supported President Biden. But earlier this month, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll found that just 63% of Black voters now support President Biden. That could be a sign the president's standing with one of his most important voting blocs may be slipping. 

In May of 2023, Scripps News traveled to South Carolina and interviewed voters who expressed concerns about President Biden's accomplishments. One of those voters was Dominique Cox of Hopkins, South Carolina.

"You voted for Biden?" Ava-joye Burnett asked Cox.

"I did," said Cox.

"How are you feeling about the work that he's doing?" asked Burnett.

"Umm, as far as right now, I haven't seen much. I really wanted to see more of Biden," answered Cox.

"How will that affect your vote in 2024?" Burnett asked.

"Probably drastically," Cox answered.

In the days before the primary, staunch supporters of President Biden have traveled around the state to gin up support for him. They're pointing to accomplishments like an improving economy and the infrastructure bill that passed in 2021. 

Political activist Margaret Sumpter has supported the Democratic party for decades, and she's convinced there's no better option right now.

"I've had somebody tell me I'm going to [the other party], well go to the other party, but I guarantee you when you go, you're going to come back because it's not as green as you think over there," said Sumpter.

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