The State has a story today about the trouble the second-tier candidates are having in South Carolina.

The key question, Clemson University political science professor Bruce Ransom said, is whether the Democrats’ big two, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, have already stripped the field of all its available oxygen.

“From day one on the Democratic side, Clinton and Obama have gotten all the attention — all the media attention, all the publicity,” Ransom said. “It makes it very difficult given that there are two candidates seeking the office that Democrats seem to be comfortable with, who are widely known. They have high name recognition and wide support.

Richardson is on the radar in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is why he’s sent his key S.C. staff to Iowa this week. If there’s some measure of success there, they’ll be back here to build on it. Biden has increased support in Iowa, but short a surprising fourth place showing, it’ll be tough for him to make it to S.C. Dodd isn’t making traction anywhere and, short a miracle, will be out, or written off, before he can get to South Carolina.