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First GOP debate expected to draw wide range of candidates

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Karen Floyd today announced at least five candidates are expected to participate in the SCGOP – Fox News First in the South Presidential Primary Debate, taking place on May 5 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Currently expected to participate, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House
  • Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas
  • Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota
  • Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana
  • Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania

“We are thrilled by the overwhelming interest we have seen so far in this debate,” Floyd said. “The road to the White House travels through South Carolina, as our Republican electorate has selected every eventual nominee since our primary’s inception in 1980. We are looking forward to our debate as the official kickoff for the presidential primary season.”

Additional participants are expected to be announced at a later time.

To be eligible for participation in the debate, candidates must register a presidential exploratory committee or presidential campaign with the Federal Election Commission, file paperwork to be placed on the ballot in South Carolina, pay associated state and federal filing fees, and meet national polling criteria consistent with what was used in the 2007 Fox-SCGOP debate. Please note that all listed candidates have not formed an exploratory committee at this time.