Politics & Government

South Carolina a blue state? Top Democrat thinks so

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine says just one marquee win for South Carolina Democrats could start the process of turning the Palmetto State Democratic blue.

It's happened in other Southern states, Kaine said last week, citing North Carolina and Virginia, which gave their electoral votes to Democrat Barack Obama in 2008.

Kaine was in South Carolina to meet with state members of Organizing for America, a political group designed to motivate supporters of President Obama, and raise money.

Kaine said he had a lot of conversations about the governor's race. After eight years of Republican Mark Sanford, Democrats think they have a chance to reclaim the state's top post.

Democrats have not held the Governor's Mansion since Sanford defeated Jim Hodges, who held the job for only one term, the only four years that Democrats have held the office since 1987.

"One wins helps because it just shows it's not impossible," said Kaine, the former governor of Virginia. "They were saying the same thing about Virginia."

Kaine said Democrats' Virginia breakthrough came in 2001, when Mark Warner, now a U.S. senator, won the race for governor. Though many wrote it off as a fluke, Kaine said, Virginia Democrats subsequently captured both U.S. Senate seats and increased their share of U.S. House and state house seats.

Meanwhile, S.C. Democrats have had difficulty fielding quality candidates.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's 2008 opponent, Bob Conley, supported Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's presidential bid.

This year, the party's first choice to oppose incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint dropped out of the race. That left Democrats scrambling to find someone to oppose DeMint, a lightening rod for Democrats.

Kaine said more people would run as Democrats if they thought they could win.

"Once you get a break, it can start breaking pretty fast for you," Kaine said.

Read more of this story at TheState.com

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