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South Carolina Republicans will decide Sept. 7 whether it's worth having a presidential primary on President Donald Trump this winter. This is Trump at Gov. Henry McMaster campaign event in June 2018. File/Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

South Carolina Republicans will decide in a week whether to hold a 2020 presidential primary.

It would be an epic upset if they vote for it.

The considerations are numerous, starting with the notion of giving a platform to anyone against President Donald Trump.

"Ninety percent of the people are going to be against it," predicted Charleston Republican Mark Hartley, who is one of 50 people on the state party's Executive Committee who will make the decision Sept. 7.

"No one wants to give Sanford a microphone," Hartley added, pointing to the looming White House bid by former Gov. Mark Sanford.

S.C. Republican National Committeewoman Cindy Costa said if Trump were polling at 40 to 45 percent then maybe a primary would be warranted.

But to create a national stage for the sake of a Trump referendum in a state where he's wildly popular?

"A reasonable mind would say this is kind of silly," Costa said.

"I would say I'm a 98 percent 'no,' " she added, leaving the door slightly open to other points of view.

State Party Chairman Drew McKissick, who holds the tie-breaker vote in the unlikelihood the debate is close, didn't want to offer an opinion.

But his reading of the executive committee leanings?

"It's a very pro-Trump crowd of people," he said.

Gov. Henry McMaster, a few months ago, supported the idea of a primary. But there's something new to the equation there: He's going to be chairman of Trump's 2020 re-election effort in the state.

"I'm 100 percent in support of President Trump," McMaster told Palmetto Politics.

One more thing Republicans need to consider is the cost. Is it worth the $3.4 million that will fall on taxpayers to put on two presidential primaries this winter instead of just one?

Added up, it would be a long shot for the party to sponsor a vote, especially given Trump's popularity here.

A Post and Courier-Change Research Poll from mid-August said 95 percent of S.C. Republicans would vote for Trump in a primary.

That comes as just 2 percent would back Sanford, whose decision on launching his own presidential bid is expected within days.

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So far two lower-tier Republicans — former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld — have announced formal bids.

Trump made his disdain known for the three potential challengers, calling them "the Three Stooges" in a tweet Tuesday night.

Sanford got extra attention from the president. He was dubbed " ‘Mr. Appalachian Trail’ who was actually in Argentina for bad reasons.”

Sanford said the decision to hold a primary in his home state "is well above my paygrade" and isn't something he frets about since it's not a vote he controls.

He did say he supports the committee holding a primary as a means of airing his key issue: Washington, D.C., spending run amok, including under Trump and the current crop of Republicans in Congress.

If the GOP opts against holding a primary, Sanford seems to be formulating a backup. Beyond South Carolina, there's still plenty of states on the calendar that don't have a closed primary, he noted.

The message: There are other states he can go to if the door is closed here.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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