First in the South: Why South Carolina's Presidential Primary Matters by H. Gibbs Knotts
To establish the foundation for their claim, Knotts and Ragusa begin with an introduction to the fundamentals of South Carolina's primary. They then detail how South Carolina achieved its coveted "First in the South" status and examine the increasing importance of this primary since the first contest in 1980. Throughout the book they answer key questions about the Palmetto State's process, using both qualitative information--press reports, primary sources, archival documents, and oral histories--and quantitative data--election results, census data, and exit polls.
Through their research Knotts and Ragusa argue that a key factor that makes the South Carolina primary so important is the unique demographic makeup of the state's Democratic and Republican electorates. Knotts and Ragusa also identify major factors that have bolstered candidates' campaigns and propelled them to victory in South Carolina. While the evidence confirms the conventional wisdom about endorsements, race, and being from a southern state, their analysis offers hope to political newcomers and candidates who have not mastered the art of fundraising. Succinct and accessible, First in the South is a glimpse behind the curtain of the often-mysterious presidential primary process.