2020 candidates SCDP minus two

Fourteen of the Democrats running for president in 2020 will be speaking at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention on June 22. This collage shows 12 of the candidates who will be speaking at the convention. Not pictured are U.S. Rep. John Delaney and self-help guru Marianne Williamson. File/Associated Press

South Carolina Democrats announced 14 of the 23 Democratic presidential hopefuls will speak at their party convention next month in Columbia, making it the biggest assembly of the season so far.

And this could be just the start.

"I imagine that there will be more," Tim Sullivan, communications director for the state party, said Tuesday.

The first round of candidates confirmed to appear at the June 22 convention in alphabetical order are:

  • U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
  • U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.
  • U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
  • U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
  • U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
  • U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts
  • Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
  • U.S. Rep. Tim  Ryan of Ohio
  • U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
  • U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Self-help guru Marianne Williamson
  • Technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang

Notably absent from the list is former Vice President Joe Biden, who has consistently been leading in 2020 polls since announcing his candidacy in April.

In South Carolina, his long-standing connections to the state have proven especially strong. According to a May 12 Post and Courier-Change Research poll, Biden is preferred by 46 percent of likely S.C. Democratic primary voters, up 14 points from a month ago.

Also not on the first round of confirmed speakers is U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont independent is preferred by 15 percent of likely Democratic voters in the Palmetto State, according to that poll.

Harris, who has made South Carolina a centerpiece of her multi-state campaign strategy, polled at 10 percent in the survey.

As the first Southern state to hold a presidential primary, South Carolina is a pivotal battleground for the candidates. It is the first state where African Americans will cast a majority of the primary vote, making it a key litmus test for how candidates are connecting.

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The convention will be at the Columbia Convention Center and will culminate what is expected to be a high-profile political weekend for Democrats in South Carolina.

On June 21, the party holds its annual Blue Palmetto Dinner. After the dinner, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will host his annual World Famous Fish Fry.

Held every year since 1992, Clyburn's event has become a political institution in its own right. Clyburn started it as a way to get voters who cannot otherwise afford traditionally pricey political functions get connected to candidates.

Clyburn will also address the party faithful at the state convention, along with U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-Charleston.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.

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