COLUMBIA (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting two historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in South Carolina to push for voter registration as she focuses on locations and demographics that could impact Democrats’ chances of holding onto Congress in the medium term. elections will be decisive.
Harris is traveling to Orangeburg to address a gathering at South Carolina State University, an HBCU where President Joe Biden addressed graduate students last year. She will also host a panel discussion with students from nearby Claflin University.
The trip to South Carolina, her third trip to the state as vice president, is part of Harris’ increased travel schedule ahead of the midterms. She spoke on reproductive rights in Chicago on Friday and travels to Wisconsin tomorrow to speak at the Democratic Attorneys General Conference. Earlier this month she traveled to Houston for the National Baptist Convention.
Harris’ travels are intended to prevent, or at least limit, the fall in voter turnout among people of color and young people, important parts of the Democratic coalition.
In South Carolina, home of the South’s first presidential election, black voters play a predominant role in the Democratic electorate. During a state visit in June, Harris expressed his appreciation for South Carolina’s Democrats, whose key support for Biden in the South’s first primary in 2020 helped reverse his campaign and in subsequent contests that led to the party’s nomination to gain momentum.
Harris’ arrival in South Carolina comes shortly after Biden’s non-binding response to CBS’ 60 Minutes when asked if he would run again in 2024. “My intention, as I said at the beginning, is that I would run again,” the president said during a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday. “But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.”
Biden noted in the interview that declaring his intention to seek re-election would put him in conflict with campaign finance laws that could have complicated the Democratic National Committee’s spending ahead of the midterm elections.
White House officials said Biden continues to lay the groundwork for a run in 2024.
However, allies concede that he could opt out of re-election ahead of a formal announcement, which is expected in the first half of 2023.
Earlier this year, Biden committed to bringing Harris on as his running mate for the 2024 re-election campaign. Her visit comes as Republicans reviewing the White House’s own offers — including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — continue to criss-cross the state.
Some native South Carolina Republicans have also tested the waters of 2024. Nikki Haley, who served the state as governor for six years before joining the Trump administration as United Nations Ambassador, lives in the Charleston area and has visited other early voting states, as has the United States Senator, Tim Scott.