With a year to go before the first presidential nominating contests, it's easy to understand why potential candidates, the media, and activists are so focused on Iowa and New Hampshire. But don't overlook South Carolina, another early state on the road to the nomination: Two possible Republican candidates and one Democrat are heading there this week, and native son Senator Lindsey Graham is keeping his name in the mix.
On Wednesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich was slated to stop in the Palmetto State as part of a multi-state tour to drum up support for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. His agenda, according to spokesman Jim Lynch: He'll address the South Carolina House Republican Caucus in the evening, followed by a meeting with lawmakers on Thursday morning and a statehouse news conference at 10 a.m.
Also Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden is set to swing through South Carolina on an official White House trip. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was set to join Biden at the Port of Charleston in the morning to discuss infrastructure investment, according to the White House. They were then slated to meet U.S. Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat, and speak at a steel company in the capital, Columbia.
On Thursday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is slated to visit Greenville, S.C., as part of his book tour. (He has also hit Iowa and has Nevada and New Hampshire on the calendar.)
For Graham's part, he is preparing to venture to Iowa on Thursday and Friday, according to the Washington Post, a trip that comes on the heels of his exploratory-committee rollout.
How do these would-be contenders stack up against each other in South Carolina? Graham topped the Republican primary field in an NBC News/Marist poll published Sunday with 17 percent of potential voters (far better than the 1 percent he received in Iowa). Rubio took 4 percent. Kasich wasn't tested. In the Democratic primary, Biden lagged far behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 20 percent to 65 percent among potential voters.