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Look South
by Steven Ehrenberg


Democratic presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun speaks to University of South Carolina's Law School students on campus in Columbia, South Carolina, on Thursday, November 20, 2003. (Takaaki Iwabu/KRT)


South Carolina bumped its primary date up this year, and Democratic candidates took notice. It will be the first Southern state to hold a primary—and it could forecast the winner of the Democratic presidential nomination.

"I think we're a little crazy...but I think we're a pretty good reflection of America," said South Carolina Democratic strategist Phil Noble.

Residents of the Palmetto State and six other states will head to the polls on February 3. The vote will be the third of the year, after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

But unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina has a more diverse population. Nearly half the voters in South Carolina's Democratic primary are expected to be African-American. So the results of the South Carolina primary will show which Democratic candidates have a broad appeal—and which ones fare well in Southern political waters.

South Carolina is wide open for competition. According to a recent poll, Wesley Clark has an early lead, with North Carolina native John Edwards not far behind. But, according to the same poll, about more than a third of the state is undecided.