A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.
Donald Trump — who recent polls suggest has returned to frontrunner status in the GOP primary — is back in the Upstate Friday for a lecture at Wofford College.
Trump is participating in the Commander-in-Chief Presidential Forum lecture series at Wofford’s Ben Johnson Arena starting at noon.
All major Republican presidential candidates have been invited to participate in the event over the course of the fall. Wofford says it’s part of the Hipp Lecture Series on International Affairs and National Security.
Two new polls released Thursday seem to confirm a trend of Trump reversing Ben Carson’s rise in the polls. Both a national Public Policy Polling count and a Bloomberg poll show Trump pulling back in front of Carson this week after the retired neurosurgeon reached a statistical tie last week.
The real estate mogul came under fire Thursday for his suggestion that all Muslims — not just refugees — should be tracked through a national database. Trump said he believes the nature of the ongoing fight against Muslim extremists requires unprecedented levels of surveillance. The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the comments by as “extremist rhetoric” and Trump’s challenger former Florida governor Jeb Bush called the idea “abhorrent.”
Spartanburg will be Trump’s only stop in South Carolina on Friday. Next Tuesday, he returns for a rally at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach.
— Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will spend a long weekend in South Carolina, starting with a town hall Friday evening at a Charleston high school. The 7:00 p.m. town hall at Burke High School will be hosted by state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, and the Charleston Democratic Party.
Sanders will then appear at the Charleston Blue Jamboree on Saturday with his other two primary opponents former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley. Sanders then travels up to Columbia for a 20/20 Leaders of America Justice Forum at historically-black Allen University. O’Malley and Carson will also appear at the forum. He’ll then formally file at the state Democratic Party’s offices around 4:00 Saturday, before heading to Orangeburg for a final town hall at South Carolina State University. The town hall is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.
On Sunday, Sanders will do his sixth South Carolina event in three days when he appears at another 3:00 p.m. town hall at Beaufort County’s Penn Center on St. Helena Island. He’ll then wrap up the weekend by crossing the Georgia border for a final town hall at Savannah Station in Savannah.
— Ohio Governor John Kasich was back in South Carolina on Thursday, making stops in the Upstate and North Charleston. During a talk to potential voters at The Beacon Drive-in restaurant in Spartanburg, Kasich said he does not think the country has any choice except to create an alliance of Mideast nations to fight ISIS.
“Our European friends and the Arab countries that know their existence is threatened, as well, we just have to go and destroy ISIS. There’s just no two ways about it. Go and get it done.”
During a stop at an apparel store in North Charleston later in the evening, Kasich said the party needs to nominate a candidate like himself who could appeal to “swing states” that will end up deciding the overall 2016 election. He said Republicans would not win states like Ohio if they nominated a “divider” as their candidate.
The most recent poll of likely Republican voters in South Carolina had Kasich at just three percent similar to his national numbers.