A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.
Support for Ben Carson has bumped up significantly since the retired neurosurgeon was last in South Carolina.
Carson visited the Palmetto State in mid-September, when polls had him trailing then-frontrunner Donald Trump by double digits. But new polls of South Carolina voters released this week show Carson has caught up with the real estate mogul and the difference is within the polls’ margins of error, considered a statistical tie.
The doctor will speak to a Greenville County Republican Women’s Club breakfast at 10:00 a.m., before heading to a town hall hosted by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy at Bob Jones University around noon. More than 5,500 people are expected to attend the event.
Media will get a chance to speak with Carson shortly before the Bob Jones event. They will almost certainly ask him about remarks by Donald Trump Thursday night that challenged Carson’s life story, including whether he once tried to stab another teen but was stopped from serious injury by the other individual’s belt buckle.
Trump also criticized Carson’s admitted “pathological anger” he had as a child, saying he did not want a president with such issues. He claimed the condition is not curable, like pedophilia. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure, they can’t stop you,” he told CNN. “Pathological, there’s no cure.”
— Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will follow Carson at Bob Jones on Saturday. Cruz is holding a rally for religious liberty at the Baptist college in Greenville, kicking off a six-stop swing through the state. He will be joined his father Pastor Rafael Cruz, Christian radio host Michael Brown and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The event begins at noon.
On Sunday, Cruz will travel to the Pee Dee, stopping at Florence Baptist Temple at 10:30 a.m., before traveling to Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Myrtle Beach for a 2:15 p.m. town hall. Cruz will then be in Hilton Head’s Sun City on Monday for a 9 a.m. town hall before traveling to College of Charleston for a 4:30 p.m. meet and greet at the Stern Center Garden.
— Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio spoke to the South Carolina Chamber’s annual meeting in Hilton Head on Thursday. Afterwards, much of the buzz was centered on a throwaway line he gave to reporters that Gov. Nikki Haley would be a viable vice presidential candidate. Specifically, Rubio said there is “a tremendous wealth of talent at the state level — look at your own governor, the governor of New Mexico.” Haley afterwards downplayed the remarks, later telling the Beaufort County Republican Party “y’all keep trying to get rid of me and I’m not going anywhere,” according to the Hilton Head Island Packet newspaper.