On March 20, the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee passed HB 4732. This is the bill that says the government will pay for the administration of presidential primaries. The only qualified parties that may have presidential primaries are those which polled at least 5% for President in the last election.
South Carolina is the only state in the nation in which no party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, has ever polled as much as 5% for President. South Carolina did not have elections for president before 1868; the legislature chose the presidential electors. When Strom Thurmond ran for President in 1948, although he carried South Carolina, he was the nominee of the Democratic Party of South Carolina, and President Truman was an independent candidate.
In 1956, presidential elector candidates pledged to U.S. Senator Harry Byrd were on the South Carolina ballot, and they polled 29.45%. But they were on the ballot as independent candidates, not as nominees of a party. The ballot label was “Nomination by Petition.”
In 1996, when Ross Perot was the Reform Party nominee, he polled over 5% for President in every state. But in South Carolina, which permits fusion, he was on the ballot twice, once as the Patriot Party nominee and once as the Reform Party nominee. He polled 3.21% as the Patriot nominee and 2.39% as the Reform nominee, so neither of his two parties themselves polled as much as 5% for President.