Former Republican presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul is expected to participate in a primary debate in South Carolina on May 5, the state party announced Friday.
“We are thrilled by the overwhelming interest we have seen so far in this debate,” said South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Karen Floyd. “The road to the White House travels through South Carolina, as our Republican electorate has selected every eventual nominee since our primary’s inception in 1980. We are looking forward to our debate as the official kickoff for the presidential primary season.”
Paul has filled out the paperwork for a presidential exploratory committee, a spokesman for Paul’s PAC Campaign for Liberty told The Daily Caller, although he has not official announced his candidacy. PAC spokesman Jesse Benton said they have all the forms prepared so that Paul can “flip the switch” as soon as he decides to run.
“I’d say this is a sign that he’s giving a really strong consideration to [running],” Benton said of the debate. “The money’s been great, the enthusiasm’s been great. … The polling in New Hampshire’s really strong so we’re feeling good.”
The South Carolina Republican Party also expects former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, and others to join the debate.
The Daily Caller will also co-host a primary debate on July 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the South Carolina primary debate is being held on July 10.