Bigger economic impact: A primary or a football game?

January 9, 2012 

As the Jan. 21 primary approaches, South Carolina will get more air time and ink across the nation, but does that mean a lot of cash for the Palmetto State?

Apparently not, according to a report in U.S. News & World Report.

Studies show in Iowa, which is first on the presidential primary dance card, that the primaries brought $25 million impact to Des Moines in 2008 -- when both parties were running. A study in New Hampshire found the primary's economic impact during a two-party race was about the same as a motorcycle race week.

This year, just the GOP brought the staffers, volunteers and news crews to the Hawkeye State, Granite State and Palmetto State.

"We're not even talking about the impact of a football game in one of our towns," said Otis Rawl, president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Still, the prestige of being the state that has elected the GOP's eventual nominee since George Bush 41.

"It puts us in the position for the White House to look upon the state favorably," Rawl said.

Guess, that's South Carolina's real pay off.

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