COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Democrats are getting $100,000 from the Democratic National Committee to bolster voter registration efforts as the party aims to pour money into states traditionally dominated by Republicans before the 2022 midterms.
The first-ever “Red State Fund” grant will provide the state’s Democratic party with resources to hire staff and get people registered across South Carolina, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison announced Friday.
The grant is just the beginning of the investments the DNC will make in state parties, accompanying other efforts to build out infrastructure related to voter registration and protection, Harrison said.
“The South is changing,” said Harrison, an Orangeburg native who led the South Carolina Democrats until 2017. “We need to make sure that we’re doing the work to get those people registered to vote, to educate those folks, to mobilize them, and then get them to the polls and protect their votes when they get there.”
Prior to taking charge of the DNC, Harrison was known for the record-breaking $130 million he raised as he mounted a challenge to Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham last year.
Harrison, who lost the 2020 race, said Friday that although much of the cash he and Graham raised went to television ads, his role now is to build a stronger state party. South Carolina and other state organizations are also getting $15,000 monthly with no strings attached, Harrison noted.
“We have to make sure that we’re good stewards of the financial resources that they’re putting in South Carolina,” said Trav Robertson, the current state Democratic chair.
Several Democrats have already announced they are vying to replace Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in next year’s election.
In a statement Friday, South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick said the Democrats’ “wasteful spending” last year helped Republicans in the state secure their most successful election cycle in more than 140 years, when the GOP gained a U.S. House seat and flipped several statehouse seats as well.
“We can’t believe that Jaime Harrison hasn’t learned this yet, but it doesn’t matter how much money you have or spend if people aren’t buying what you’re selling — and South Carolina voters have proven we’re not buying what Democrats are selling,” McKissick said.