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 SandersJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Biden's 'allies' gearing up to sink his campaign Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support 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 TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest 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 BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report 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.”