And unlike New Hampshire -- where only independents can choose the party primary they want to vote in -- South Carolina holds an open primary. That means anyone of any political affiliation or no affiliation at all can cast a ballot.
Since 1980, the winner of the Republican primary in South Carolina has gone on to win the GOP presidential nomination – with one exception. That was in 2012, when eventual nominee Mitt Romney finished second behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. For the Democrats, South Carolina also plays a very important role as a key indicator of the crucial African-American vote.
This cycle, black voters are expected to make up roughly 60 percent of the Democratic presidential primary electorate in the Palmetto State. Here’s a look at the recent winners in South Carolina’s presidential primaries.
2000: Vice President Al Gore
2004: Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina
2008: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois
2012: President Obama, unopposed
2016: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
2000: Texas Gov. George W. Bush
2004: Primary canceled
2008: Sen. John McCain of Arizona
2012: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
2016: Donald Trump