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First Republican debate lacking party's biggest names

May 04, 2011|By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
(AP Photo/Jim Cole )

Organizers of the first GOP primary debate for the 2012 presidential race managed to qualify five candidates to participate in the forum Thursday night, though most of the Republicans considered top contenders for the presidential nomination will not be in attendance.

The most prominent candidate who will take part in the debate, held at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C., will be former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He will be joined by former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, restaurant executive Herman Cain and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

"We give great credit to all of these candidates for being willing to stand before a national audience and lay out their plans and ideas for the future of this country," said South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Karen Floyd. "We are looking forward to a great debate among these presidential hopefuls."

The debate is being produced by Fox News, which set out strict criteria for participation, requiring candidates to file with the Federal Election Commission and pay a $25,000 filing fee to the South Carolina Republican Party.

It is set to air live at 6 p.m. PDT.

matea.gold@latimes.com

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