Black University in South Carolina Will Be Site of Early Debate Between Contenders for the Democratic Presidential Nomination

South Carolina State University, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg, was handed a political plum when the state Democratic Party scheduled a 90-minute debate for the 2008 presidential contenders on its campus this coming April. The debate, which will be televised live on the MSNBC cable news network, will occur about nine months before the state’s presidential primary next January.

South Carolina will be the first state with a significant black population to select its delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This early primary will gauge various candidates’ support among black voters, who traditionally cast between one quarter and one third of all Democratic primary votes nationwide.