The seven Democratic Party candidates hold a debate later in the first southern state to hold a Democratic primary, South Carolina. The South Carolina primary is shaping up to be a contest between Senators John Kerry and John Edwards.
Recent polls in South Carolina show North Carolina Senator John Edwards holding a slight lead over Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, but the race is considered too close to call.
Richard Harpootlian, the former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman says John Edwards has to win in South Carolina to remain a viable candidate. "I think he has an edge here because he is from the South," he said. "But John Edwards has said he has to win here or he is out."
African-Americans make up 30 percent of South Carolinas population and could make up 50 percent of the voters in the Democratic primary. African-American candidate Al Sharpton is a distant third in the race, behind Mr. Edwards and Mr. Kerry, with Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Joseph Lieberman and Dennis Kucinich further back in the polls.