South Carolina Democratic Party
|Senate leader||Nikki G. Setzler|
|Assembly leader||J. Todd Rutherford|
|Headquarters||915 Lady Street, Suite 111
Columbia, South Carolina
|National affiliation||Democratic Party|
|Seats in the Upper House||
18 / 46
|Seats in the Lower House||
44 / 124
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 States' 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 essentially all other issues. 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. For much of South Carolina's history, 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 prevented African Americans from voting in the primary election, which 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, protecting 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.
Member of Congress
U.S. House of Representatives
Officers and staff
As of April 2017, the state party officers were:
- Chair: Trav Robertson
- 1st Vice Chairman: Lessie Price
- 2nd Vice Chairman: Anthony B. Thompson Jr.
- 3rd Vice Chairman: Scott Thorpe
- Secretary: Melissa Watson
- Treasurer: Kathy Hensley
State Party Staff:
- Chief of Staff: Phillip Chambers
- Finance Director: Will Blanton
Members of the Democratic National Committee
- Bass, Jack. Thompon, Marilyn. "Strom". PublicAffairs, 2005.