2012 hopefuls to address South Carolina GOP Convention
April 21st, 2011
10:38 AM ET
3 years ago

2012 hopefuls to address South Carolina GOP Convention

(CNN) – Several Republicans with presidential aspirations will address the South Carolina GOP's annual Silver Elephant Banquet in Columbia on May 6, a source familiar with the plans told CNN.

The dinner, which takes place every year at the South Carolina Republican Party Convention, is the party's biggest fundraising event of the year and the keynote address is usually offered to a possible White House contender or one of the party's rising stars looking to make inroads in the early primary state.

But with a clutch of potential 2012 presidential candidates already slated to appear in South Carolina on May 5 for a presidential debate in Greenville, state party officials decided to hold a presidential forum at the banquet and offer speaking slots to all of the debate participants instead of giving the spotlight to just one high-profile Republican.

"Though this is certainly a non-traditional approach to our banquet, we thought this to be a very fitting way to introduce our top donors and top activists to our field of contenders," South Carolina GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd said in a statement to CNN.

The potential candidates who have so far agreed to appear at the debate, which is sponsored by Fox News and the South Carolina GOP, are former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said he will take part in the debate if he enters the race by May 5. He plans to make an announcement about the race by the end of April.

Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, another potential GOP candidate, will be in Columbia on May 7 delivering a commencement address at the University of South Carolina but is not likely to attend the state GOP convention.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told CNN last weekend that it might be "premature" for her to commit to the debate without having an exploratory committee, one of the criteria for debate participants.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has formed an exploratory committee but has not revealed his debate plans.


Filed under: 2012 • South Carolina
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. sher

    South Carolina is the "perfect place for the Looney tunes to meet! While you right wingers are down there,take a good look at the small neglected towns? Go into the schools and see the paint is still the original paint from 1940. The ceilings are cracked,walls peeling? You republicans need to take a good look at what your party has done to that state. Say Hi to Sanford, course he may be in Brazil, to see his loves?

    April 21, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Itsa

    There are 3 regions in SC, 2 of which vote historically Democrat. The other – the 'Upstate', with more actual voters per capita, historically votes Republican. However, the upstate has not been immune to a large influx of immigrants and transplants with industry, which is eating away at the traditional Republican stance. Strongholds to pushing the far right agenda in the upstate: far right wing 'churches' that regularly sport Republican candidates guest speaking from the pulpit. And Bob Jones University – the far right extremist private college steeped in bigotry and sexism. Real education and diversity of the populace is the key to moving beyond 1948, Upstate SC!

    April 21, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Wes B.

    Any chance South Carolina might secede again? If so, we probably just want to let them go this time around.

    April 21, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I wonder what flags they will be flying on the flag poles.

    April 21, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Sniffit

    Sweet...this should make for several hilarious episodes of the Daily Show and Colbert Report...these ideologue numbnuts are neverending fonts of material.

    April 21, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Marry

    A rather strange “group” heading for the South Carolina GOP's annual Silver Elephant Banquet in Columbia. As a meeting of the mentally challenged, it would make sense and we all would wish them a nice and entertaining evening. As a dinner for people that are under the delusion that they have anything positive to offer for the future of the country even though they had and have only themselves and their “friends” (you are not one of them!) in mind when doing “business”, it is simply shameless. After what they have shown themselves to be over the time President Obama has been in office, it is an insult to the people and the office of President of the United States of America for them to consider 2012!

    April 21, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Anonymous

    In other words, they couldn't find anyone to commit to it.

    April 21, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Name king

    First thing they need to bring up! Stop swinging with big oil, and stop backing up and putting the blame on Potus every time they take the American people down through there. I am sick and tired of every time someone tries to criticize big oil, those repugs are there to take up for them, then blame the president, at the same time screaming for the government to take their regulations off their big oil friends.

    April 21, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. PalmReader

    Cool. Instead of debating one another, looks as if many of the GOPer field of clowns that are maybe running for President want to spend their campaign time Kumbaya-ing themselves. One gets the feeling these fools don't really care about much of anything except their PAC funds, their weathly donors wish lists, and how much media time they can get.

    April 21, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Jeff in Virginia

    When conservative news breaks, Peter Hamby will cover it. With no critical questions asked.

    April 21, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. BobRoss

    Itsa – "There are 3 regions in SC, 2 of which vote historically Democrat. The other – the 'Upstate', with more actual voters per capita, historically votes Republican. However, the upstate has not been immune to a large influx of immigrants and transplants with industry, which is eating away at the traditional Republican stance. Strongholds to pushing the far right agenda in the upstate: far right wing 'churches' that regularly sport Republican candidates guest speaking from the pulpit. And Bob Jones University – the far right extremist private college steeped in bigotry and sexism. Real education and diversity of the populace is the key to moving beyond 1948, Upstate SC!"

    Itsa, I agree with you partly, but I would not say that Bob Jones characterizes the upstate; even in the upstate nobody takes BJU seriously.
    However, I do think the upstate is a big part of the reason Nikki Haley won the election for governor. I come from the Charleston area, and I know many Republicans down there who did not vote for her, because of the potential she has to be an embarrassment to the state (especially after the Sanford debacle).

    April 21, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    It will take the entire convention to give them all an opportunity. LOL.

    April 21, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |