CNN and the Southern Republic Leadership Conference (SRLC) announced Thursday that they will host a Republican presidential town hall debate in Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 19, 2012 during the SLRC's biennial conference. The Republican National Committee (RNC) has chosen South Carolina as one of the first states to vote in the Republican presidential primary process in 2012.
"Because of South Carolina's role as the first-in-the-South, as well as the many southern states that vote on Super Tuesday, this debate provides 2012 GOP hopefuls an occasion to reach their key constituency in South Carolina and throughout the southern region," said Sam Feist, Washington bureau chief and SVP, CNN. "Not only will the candidates have the chance to address top southern Republicans in person, the primary voters attending the conference also will have an opportunity to directly question their candidates for president."
During the week of Jan. 19, 2012, Republican leaders from the 14 states in the RNC Southern Region will meet as part of SRLC's three-day conference. It will draw an expected 2,000 attendees.
CNN will produce three other debates in 2011, including a Republican presidential primary debate in Manchester, N.H. on June 13, presented by New Hampshire Union Leader and WMUR-TV. On Sept. 12, CNN and the Tea Party Express will host a debate with the Republican candidates in Tampa, Fla., followed by an Oct. 18 GOP primary debate in Las Vegas, presented by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference.