VP Harris says Democrats have momentum as she files Biden’s paperwork to run in SC primary

Following Democratic victories in several states in Tuesday’s election, Vice President Kamala Harris told South Carolina Democrats the party has “wind at their backs” going into 2024.

Harris formally filed paperwork Friday for President Joe Biden to run in the First in the Nation Democratic Primary, in a state which turned around Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, propelled him to the nomination and eventually to the White House.

Biden was the fourth candidate to file to run on the Democratic ballot, following Marianne Williamson, Cenk Uygur and Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips.

The state Democratic Party’s executive committee, however, on Monday will determine who will qualify for the Feb. 3 primary. In addition to paying the $20,000 filing fee, candidates need to show they have taken steps to appear on at least six other primary ballots.

But party officials and the Biden-Harris campaign are confident the president will cruise to the nomination.

When asked for a prediction of how Biden is going to do in the Feb. 3 primary, Harris said, “We’re going to win.”

South Carolina’s primary is particularly meaningful to Biden.

In 2020, after losing the nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Biden won South Carolina, propelling him to the nomination and eventually the presidency.

When setting up the 2024 nominating calendar, the Democratic National Committee chose to kick off with South Carolina as a nod to Black voters, who are a key demographic of the Democratic base.

“This is really, really an incredible demonstration of what South Carolina is all about,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, who endorsed Biden a few days before the 2020 South Carolina primary.

During Harris’ remarks, she spoke about the the administration’s efforts on rural broadband, removal of lead pipes, gun safety, abortion access, investments in HBCUs and increasing access to capital for small businesses.

But she said that work could not have happened without South Carolina.

“So much of it can be attributed to the fight, to the commitment, to the perseverance of the people in this room and in the state,” Harris said in a small room at the South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters.

Harris remarked on Democrats’ better-than-expected showing in the 2022 midterms where an anticipated red wave did not happen, and Democrats’ success Tuesday in elections in Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky.

“What we saw was from Kansas to California, and then on Tuesday, from Ohio to Virginia, the people, whether they be in so called red or blue states, voted for freedom. They voted for liberty. And by extension, they voted to uphold our democracy,” Harris said. “And so all of that is that state, we have momentum, the wind is at our back.”

Harris has been to South Carolina several times during her tenure as vice president. Last month, Harris visited the College of Charleston as part of a college campus tour.

Even though state party Chairwoman Christale Spain earlier this week said all candidates are welcome to file to run, she was confident that Biden will be successful in 2024’s election.

“South Carolina voters matter. And (Harris’) presence here today confirms that South Carolina have a very special relationship with President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris, and I am proud of the role the Palmetto State played in ensuring that they would go on to win the White House, and I am completely honored to accept their filing today,” Spain said. “This primary is historic and our voters are going to turn out for them again.”

McClatchy DC Reporter Michael Wilner contributed to this article.