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14 candidates file to run in 2020 SC Democratic presidential primary

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Voters cast their ballots after waiting 90 minutes in line at St. Andrew's School of Math and Science in West Ashley on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

COLUMBIA — Filing for South Carolina's 2020 Democratic presidential primary closed midday Wednesday, setting the likely ballot for the Feb. 29 contest with no last-minute surprises.

The only major candidate who did not file for the Palmetto State's primary was former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who openly telegraphed from the outset of his late bid that he would skip the early caucuses and primaries and instead focus on Super Tuesday that comes right after the South Carolina primary.

Bloomberg's decision to take a pass on South Carolina, where other candidates had already spent months campaigning before he entered the race, remained unchanged despite garnering the coveted endorsement of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

The S.C. Democratic Party's executive council is slated to meet Friday to certify the candidates and send the final list to the S.C. Election Commission to prepare the ballots.

The 14 candidates who filed are:

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U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris had initially filed during a campaign stop in Columbia last month, but the California Democrat withdrew her application Tuesday after deciding to drop out of the race.

Harris stopped by her South Carolina headquarters in Columbia on Wednesday morning to thank her staff and supporters for their work on the campaign.

Candidates needed to pay a $20,000 filing fee to the state as required by South Carolina law.

Qualifications the executive council will consider are whether the candidates are "bona fide" Democrats with a record of fidelity to the party, generally recognized as viable candidates, have actively campaigned for the South Carolina primary, voted in their own states' most recent Democratic primary and are taking steps to qualify for the ballot in at least 12 states.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

Jamie Lovegrove is a political reporter covering the South Carolina Statehouse, congressional delegation and campaigns. He previously covered Texas politics in Washington for The Dallas Morning News and in Austin for the Texas Tribune.

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