1964. Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater runs for president. He wins South Carolina but loses to incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson in 44 of 50 states. Goldwater’s conservative policies draw support from traditional Democratic strongholds in the Palmetto State and elsewhere in the South. Among Goldwater’s highest profile supporters is S.C. Sen. Strom Thurmond, who leaves the Democratic Party for the GOP and endorses Goldwater.
1968. Candidate Richard M. Nixon’s so-called “Southern Strategy” campaign on law-and-order and states’ rights issues helps consolidate some Southern states into the GOP electoral pool, despite the success of independent candidate George Wallace in a handful of Southern states. Nixon won South Carolina, with the support of Thurmond and S.C. lawyer and political strategist Harry Dent.
1974. Mount Pleasant oral surgeon James B. Edwards becomes the first Republican governor in South Carolina since Reconstruction, defeating retired Gen. William Westmoreland in the state’s first GOP primary and beating Democratic Congressman Bryan Dorn in the general election.
1987-95. Carroll Campbell, a former executive assistant to Edwards, serves as South Carolina’s first two-term GOP governor and is credited with solidifying the Republican Party in the state.
2003. Republican Lindsey Graham succeeds Thurmond, who retires after serving as U.S. senator since 1956.
2004. Republican Jim DeMint succeeds Democrat Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, who retires after 38 years in the U.S. Senate.
2010. Republican Nikki Haley is elected as the first female governor of South Carolina. Republicans capture all statewide constitutional offices.