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Circle Up SC: February 23-29

Hey there!

Congrats on being one of the first subscribers to Circle Up, a weekly newsletter bringing you a rundown of political news in the state.  We're for everyone, but we aim to be the millennial & Gen Z-tailored political informers. Just as a bit of background, this publication has Democratic strategists as contributors, but in an effort to report objectively, Circle Up weekly will make every effort to use language that is unbiased.  Now, let's get to it -- TWO DAYS AWAY FROM SC DEM DEBATE We're two days away from the First in the South debate, when all of the Democratic presidential candidates will ascend upon the Palmetto State to cut one another off mid-sentence and make final appeals to voters in the state.  The debate is hosted by CBS News, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Twitter. It's not open to the public, but you can catch it online or on television at 8 p.m. What to watch for:

  • Keep an eye out for how the candidates' rhetoric caters to black voters. South Carolina is the first state to hold a primary with a significant portion of its voters (60% of Democrats) being black. 

  • Watch Biden vs. Bernie -- the two are nearly neck-in-neck based on a recent poll by Change Research. You can also see from these op-eds [here & here] ran in the same week that their supporters have been stepping up their game.

  • See Steyer -- The guy has invested a lot into South Carolina, to say the least. He's also been making campaign stops all over the state, particularly rural SC. If he's ever going to have a moment, it'll be here.


This week, Democratic candidates make their final pitch to voters before Saturday's First in the South primary. 

Vice President Joe Biden

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Tom Steyer

Sen. Elizabeth Warren


If your eyes glaze over every time someone mentions the phrase "presidential election," we've got something for ya.

Keep an eye on the other offices that will be on the ballot in November. 

Every state house and senate seat is up in November, and there are a number of county council elections as well. Filing for candidacy in South Carolina is in mid-March.


It’s that time of year again for Student Government elections at the University of South Carolina.

Both the Treasurer and Speaker of the Student Senate candidates are running unopposed.

  • Student Body Treasurer candidate Caden Askew is running a the platform of increasing the transparency of the Treasurer’s office. He currently works under the current Student Body Treasurer, Kate Lewis.

  • Speaker of the Student Senate candidate JD Jacobus plans to enforce professionalism within the Student Senate as well as advocate for printing kiosks across campus. He currently serves as the chairman of the Powers and Responsibilities committee in the 111th Student Senate under Speaker Davis Latham. 

There are two tickets who have their eyes set on the title of being Student Body President and Student Body Vice President.

  • One ticket is the "Envision" campaign with Student Body President candidate Issy Rushton  and Student Body Vice President Candidate Hannah White. This duo is dedicated to improving the Gamecock experience, amplifying the student voice and increasing campus convenience. Learn more about these women and their vision for UofSC at

  • One ticket is comprised of Student Body President Candidate Samantha Mayberry and Student Body Vice President Candidate Zach Crawford. Their campaign is the “Embrace, Engage and Empower” campaign.  Check out what they have planned for Carolina at

UofSC students will be voting for their new Student Government executives on this week on Feb. 25 & 26.

New and familiar faces 

UofSC President Bob Caslen has added a new position to his cabinet — the Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Equity, which will be filled by Julian R. Williams. Prior to this position, Williams served as Vice President of Compliance, Diversity and Ethics at George Mason University. Williams will begin in mid-June. A national search was conducted to fill this position. 

The UofSC's Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. John Dozier, is currently housed in the Office of the Provost. That role will be eliminated once Dr. Williams arrives on campus. Dr. Dozier was an in-house candidate for the new position but announced he will be serving as the Institute Community and Equity Officer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) effective March 15. 

A familiar face was on campus this past week. Dr. William Tate returned in his candidacy to become the next university Provost. Tate was a fan favorite candidate during the university's controversial presidential search last spring. Tate currently serves as the Vice Provost of Graduate Education at Washington University in St. Louis. He is in the running for Provost with fellow candidates Nancy Rapoport and John Wiencek.


"In South Carolina, even moderate Democrats who are sympathetic to Mr. Biden believe he’s in grave danger of losing the state.

“He’s wounded,” Tyler Jones, a Charleston-based Democratic strategist, said of the former vice president. Like other political professionals in the state, Mr. Jones is increasingly less concerned about Mr. Biden’s weakness than about the billionaire Tom Steyer’s strength — and what it means for the nominating process."

"Biden has maintained a strong, mostly double-digit lead over his challengers in South Carolina since launching his bid last spring. But after two disappointing losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, his lead has slipped in the Palmetto State. Biden did not stick around for his own election night watch party in New Hampshire, instead choosing to fly to Columbia with his wife, Jill Biden, for a party kicking off the final stretch of the S.C. primary race.

But despite losing some ground, Biden still shows considerable support from the state’s African American voters, particularly those who are 55 years and older, who make up more than 60% of the South Carolina Democratic Party primary electorate, according to the poll.

Overall, Biden leads Sanders among black voters 36% to 20%, with Steyer in third at 17%."

"State Rep. Kambrell Garvin, an early Warren endorser from Columbia, said many South Carolina voters he’s spoken to still haven’t made up their minds about who they will vote for, and likely won’t until the final days before the primary.

“That gives Sen. Warren an opportunity to really come in and solidify her standing among the electorate here,” Garvin said.

Warren’s fall in South Carolina roughly coincided with Steyer’s rise as the billionaire hedge fund manager began spending millions of dollars on advertising in the state.

“When you’re running against folks that have unlimited sums of money that they can dump into this primary, there’s no question that a candidate who’s fully funded by grassroots supporters will have difficulties competing if the money slows down,” Garvin said."


In a survey conducted this month of 180 South Carolinian millennial and Gen Z voters, findings reveal that Sanders has a strong lead among candidates (28.7%). Warren trails by more than 5 percentage points (23%) , and Biden comes in third at 20.8%.

The open-ended response portion was also interesting.

"Honestly, the democratic party is a complete disaster and these candidates need to get it together but I'm just so tired of Trump."

"This has been a very difficult election process for me. Usually, I am able to pick a candidate early and feel confident throughout the cycle. I've found it difficult to do so this year, with the constantly changing playing field. A few of my previous top contenders have suspended their campaigns, making it harder to decide on a candidate. My chief motivation on Feb. 29 will be voting for a candidate who will keep their word if elected president."

"An honest person that’s actually going to take action."


In this political climate, would you rather describe yourself as a Democrat/Republican (based on your leanings) OR as more liberal/more conservative?

Take the poll here. WHAT NOW? We want to hear from you! Please chime in & let us know what kind of information you'd like to get from this newsletter. That's it for now! See ya next week.

And don't forget to VOTE in Saturday's primary! Circle Up SC is a publication of CityBright, LLC. For information or to advertise in this publication, contact

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