South Carolina Democratic Party

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South Carolina Democratic Party
ChairpersonChristale Spain
Senate Minority LeaderBrad Hutto
House Minority LeaderJ. Todd Rutherford
Headquarters1929 Gadsden
Columbia, South Carolina
IdeologyModern liberalism
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue
Seats in the U.S. Senate
0 / 2
Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
1 / 7
Statewide Executive Offices
1 / 9
Seats in the South Carolina Senate
15 / 46
Seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives
36 / 124

The South Carolina Democratic Party is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina.


The Democratic Party thrived during the Second Party System between 1832 and the mid-1850s and was one of the causes of the collapse of the Whig Party.

Between 1880 and 1948, South Carolina's Democratic Party dominated state politics. The 1948 presidential election marked the winds of change as Strom Thurmond ran on behalf of the States' Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats). He accumulated 71% of the votes cast in South Carolina that year.[1]

Nearly 100 years after the conclusion of the American Civil War (around 1949), the state was still preoccupied with racial tension, which muffled the debate about essentially all other issues. During this time, all politics revolved around the Democratic Party. Furthermore, a single faction typically dominated local politics. South Carolina was locked into the traditionalistic culture dominant throughout the South. Political change was often resisted by South Carolina's agrarian leaders. The agrarian leaders were middle-class farmers that were thought to maintain the status quo of the Democratic Party. In 1942, a party convention overwhelmingly voted to continue the all-white primary to prevent African-American influence.[2] For much of South Carolina's history, the lower class was generally not allowed to vote.[3]

A major shift began in South Carolina politics with President Lyndon B. Johnson's Civil Rights Act of 1964, with whites switching to the Republican Party.

Current elected officials[edit]

The South Carolina Democratic Party currently control one statewide office and holds minorities in both the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives. Democrats hold one of the state's seven U.S. House seats.

Members of Congress[edit]

U.S. Senate[edit]

Republicans have controlled both of South Carolina's seats in the U.S. Senate since 2004. Fritz Hollings was the last Democrat to represent South Carolina in the U.S. Senate. First elected in the 1966 special election, Hollings opted to retire instead of seeking a seventh full term. Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum ran as the Democratic nominee in the 2004 election and was subsequently defeated by Republican challenger Jim DeMint.

  • None

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Out of the seven seats South Carolina is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, one is held by Democrats:

District Member Photo
6th Jim Clyburn

Statewide offices[edit]

South Carolina has not elected any Democratic candidates to statewide office since 2006, when Jim Rex was elected as the Superintendent of Education. In 2010, Rex opted not to run for re-election, instead running unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

State legislative leaders[edit]

Officers and staff[edit]

As of April 29, 2023, the state party officers were:[4]

  • Chair: Christale Spain
  • 1st Vice Chair: Colleen Condon
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Mayra Rivera-Vazquez
  • 3rd Vice Chair: Michelle Brandt
  • Secretary: Joyce Rose-Harris
  • Treasurer: Kendra Dove

State Party Staff:[5]

  • Executive Director: Jay Parmley
  • Finance Director: Ellen Stankiewicz
  • Communications Coordinator: Grace Whaley
  • Political Director: Angela Clyburn

Members of the Democratic National Committee[edit]

Three members of the South Carolina Democratic Party also serve on the Democratic National Committee.[4] These are:

  • Bre Maxwell
  • Carol Fowler
  • Clay Middleton

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bass, Jack. Thompon, Marilyn. "Strom". PublicAffairs, 2005.
  2. ^ Katznelson, Ira (2013). Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of our Time. New York, NY: Liveright Publishing Corporation. ISBN 978-0-87140-450-3. OCLC 783163618.
  3. ^ Scoppe, Cindi Ross (December 16, 2015). "Constitution of 1895 stripped blacks, poor whites of vote, still rules SC 120 years later". The State. Retrieved September 25, 2017. Closed access icon
  4. ^ a b "Party Leadership". Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  5. ^ "SCDP Team". Archived from the original on 2015-07-26.

External links[edit]