MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Six Republican presidential candidates are confirmed to attend the South Carolina Tea Party Convention over the weekend.
This will be the fifth year the convention is hosted at the Springmaid Beach Resort. Event planners expect 1,500 to attend. This is the second year in a row the convention will be open to the public.
Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Governor Mike Huckabee, and Senator Rick Santorum will be at the conference. Each candidate will have the chance to speak.
At this point, the candidates need to start refining themselves and proving they're the whole package, said Holley Tankersley, a political expert for WMBF News.
"I think as this race settles in, voters in South Carolina are going to be looking for someone who can handle themselves on national security, in particular, on issues of community safety, well-being, and health," said Tankersley.
The Tea Party Convention does not really change any of the dynamics of the primary race in South Carolina. This particular faction of the Republican party already has an established preference at this point in the game. But there is the chance that at the conference, they could change the issues the candidates are focusing on.
"You really haven't heard as much about social issues here in South Carolina, or economic issues for that matter," said Tankersley. "Most of these candidates have kind of been battling it out really on two fronts. One, national security and foreign policy, right. Because all of these candidates are trying to prove that they could be Commander and Chief. And the other battleground has nothing to do with issues and all to do with personal characteristics."
The conference events will kick off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.