Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty confirmed that he would attend the first Republican presidential primary debate in South Carolina on May 5. The debate, hosted by the South Carolina Republican Party and FOX News, has few confirmed participants, due in part to the requirement that any participants must have officially announced an exploratory committee and pay a $25,000 entry fee. Other candidates, like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have said they are unsure if they will attend.
Pawlenty, in a statement Friday, announced his intention to be there, and implicitly chided other candidates for not doing so.
“President Obama’s failed policies have seriously jeopardized our nation’s future and it’s time for Republicans to show leadership and engage in a battle of ideas,” he said. “We have to stand up for America every chance we get, and I for one look forward to doing that on Thursday in South Carolina.”
He continued: “I appreciate the hard work by the South Carolina GOP and FOX News to organize this debate. My Presidential exploratory committee will file the necessary papers and fees with the South Carolina Secretary of State next Tuesday because it’s important that Republicans show up now, talk about their records, and begin the debate on how best we can defeat this President.”
Candidates expected to attend the debate include former Senator Rick Santorum, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, and Rep. Ron Paul.