Republicans urging GOP voters to vote for Sanders in South Carolina primary: report

Republicans urging GOP voters to vote for Sanders in South Carolina primary: report
© Greg Nash

State Republican leaders in South Carolina are urging GOP voters to vote for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. MORE (I-Vt.) in the state's Feb. 29 Democratic primary.

The plan — orchestrated by Greenville GOP chairman Nate Leupp and several other prominent Republican Party leaders — revolves around GOP leadership's belief that Sanders poses the least amount of challenge to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE in November's general election and its goal of getting the Palmetto State's Democratic lawmakers to agree to close the state's primaries.

“Bernie Sanders is the most socialistic, liberal candidate running in the Democratic presidential preference primary,” Leupp told The Post and Courier. “So we feel we can make a strong point that our Democratic state legislators need to help work to close our primaries so it protects them as well as the Republican brand.” 

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South Carolina has open primaries, meaning voters don't have to be associated with a political party to cast a ballot.

According to the paper, Leupp and company are set to unveil their plan on Thursday at a press conference at the GOP's headquarters in Greenville.

In the latest Post and Courier poll, Sanders only trailed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE, who has long been the favorite in the state, by 5 percentage points.

Leupp said that he believes that the state's large Republican voter base could make the difference in the primary. To his point, in 2016 roughly 740,000 people voted in the state's GOP presidential primary, while only 370,000 voted in the Democratic version.

“I think we can easily affect the outcome,” Leupp told the paper. “This is going to catch on like wildfire.”