A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.
Greenville will be the center of the country’s political attention on Friday, when the conservative group Heritage Action hosts a forum at the Bon Secours Wellness Center.
The forum will feature each candidate individually answering questions from panelists and voters. The staggered event runs from 4:00-10:00 p.m., so candidates are scheduling other appearances around the Upstate this upcoming weekend to engage with potential voters on their own time.
— Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson will speak from what is almost certainly his comfort zone as he addresses a healthcare summit at the Upstate Chamber Coalition earlier that Friday morning. Carson will speak at 10:30 a.m. for the summit at Greenville’s Embassy Suites. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s camp announced Thursday that Walker will visit the Spartanburg institution Beacon Drive In restaurant and hold a meet-and-greet around 11:30 a.m. The event is several hours before his appearance at the arena. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is also scheduled to make an earlier stop in Greenville so he can formally file his candidacy for the 2016 Republican primary in South Carolina.
— Meanwhile, retired Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina has scheduled nine South Carolina events over the next week. After her appearance in Friday’s forum, Fiorina returns to South Carolina to participate in a Tuesday national security forum hosted by the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security at The Citadel military college in Charleston. The 12:00 event will be followed by a Conservative Leadership Project town hall in Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Reef Convention Center at 5:30.
Fiorina will spend Wednesday in the Midlands, stopping at Hudson’s Smokehouse barbecue restaurant in Lexington before formally filing her candidacy papers at the party headquarters that afternoon. She’ll then appear in a Rock Hill town hall discussion at the Magnolia Room around 6:30. She’ll then return to the Upstate on Thursday, September 24, speaking at a Converse College town hall at 9:00 a.m., then visiting the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg before wrapping up at the Greenville Republican Women Club’s luncheon at Greenville’s Poinsett Club around noon.
— Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will stop at Newberry’s historic Opera House on Tuesday, September 22. The “First in the South Presidential Town Hall” event starts at 7:00 p.m. It will be the first visit to the small town an hour north of Columbia this cycle. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum had canceled a scheduled stop at the opera house earlier this month.
— Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will be back in South Carolina on Wednesday, September 23. He will appear in “Stand With Rand” events at Winthrop University in Rock Hill around 10:30 a.m., before heading to the University of South Carolina for a similar rally at 2:00, then finishing up at the RJ Rocker’s brewery in Spartanburg at 5:00 p.m.
— Walker also announced Tuesday that his campaign would return to South Carolina on Saturday, September 26. Walker will stop at the Veteran’s Affairs office in Greenwood around 1:15 p.m., then Bobby’s BBQ in Warrenville at 4:15, before finishing up at Zesto’s Café in West Columbia at 6:45 p.m.
— You may have heard there’s a debate between Republican candidates tonight. The debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California and will be televised by CNN at 8:00 p.m. The three-hour debate will feature 11 candidates (minus Jindal, Sen. Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum, who CNN said did not have enough poll support to make it on-stage). The remaining five candidates will have a smaller debate at 6:00 p.m.