Between a Rock and a Hard Place: South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary

by Cole Blease Graham Jr.
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 1: Politics (1998)

"They were Republicans under the skin, but they could not join a party indentified with the destruction of the South."

The “rock” in this case is the Granite State of New Hampshire; the “hard place” is the South, where Republican candidates for any office have had a hard row to hoe over the last century. How could a Republican even get on a ballot after “Mr. Lincoln’s Party” interfered with the region’s effort to form its own nation? Between 1920 and 1950 in South Carolina, not one Republican candidate for governor, the U.S. Senate, or the U.S. House of Representatives received more than 5 percent of the popular vote. Republican presidential candidates fared about as poorly. In the 1940s, J. Bates Gerald, chair of South Carolina Republicans, gave the party’s meager funds to GOP candidates in other states.

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