By Jirah Cosey
South Carolina's Republican influence adds a significant boost to their candidates. Although the state brims with Republican ideals, political leaders from both parties are prepared to endorse the most qualified candidate for their state.
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina's senior Republican senator, has served since 2005. Last year, Graham joined the 2016 presidential race until he dropped out in December due to low funding.
Graham has since then been an active supporter of candidate Jeb Bush. Bush is the older brother of former President George W. Bush, and former two-term governor of Florida. Aside from endorsing Bush, Graham also travels alongside him to ensure the success of his campaign.
Although Graham is an advocate for Bush, Trump currently leads comfortably according to South Carolina's polls of Republican candidates.
Graham and Trump's relationship is far from friendly. The two political leaders have been significantly public with their dislike for one another. Despite Graham's withdrawal from the race, Graham believes that he or Bush are far more equipped to take on the role as president. Graham, a career Air Force veteran and reservist, told Yahoo News: "To The Donald – it's not about you, it's about those who serve. And I would do everything I can to make sure you're never their Commander in Chief, 'cause you're not worthy of that title." On the other side, South Carolina Democratic leader, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, is actively searching for a well-equipped candidate to represent African-Americans and minorities. Clyburn is from Sumter, South Carolina and is a leadership liaison to the House Appropriations Committee.
In addition to serving as a Democratic chair to the White House, Clyburn represents the 6th Congressional District of South Carolina. Clyburn has coined this district as the "Corridor of Shame" since poverty has overwhelmed his constituents. Recognizing this concern, Clyburn has made it his goal to select a proper candidate to represent the Democratic Party.
Clyburn said plans to endorse former secretary of state and U.S. Senator from New York Hillary Clinton for president. Congressional Black Caucus, along with Clyburn, believe Clinton could tackle poverty and address the issues that concern most African-Americans. Clyburn's team told ABC News: "Clinton is best positioned to better African-American lives."
After consulting with his family, Clyburn plans to officially announce his endorsement for Clinton.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina's junior member and lone black Republican in the upper chamber, has maintained a low profile; a CNN report called Scott a "reluctant kingmaker." However, this week, he endorsed candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
The trio of political leaders have selected candidates they believe will win their parties' respective nominations. The South Carolina Republican Primary will be held on Saturday and the Democratic Primary will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27.
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.