COLUMBIA -- Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will be in Charleston Sunday for a town hall meeting that Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Scott plans for each GOP presidential hopeful.

Scott, who represents the 1st District, called the meetings a town hall series intended to give the public a chance to meet individual candidates before South Carolina's "First in the South" presidential primary. The contest is tentatively scheduled for late February.

The town halls are among several candidate forums planned in the coming months.

"This year, it is more important than ever before that Republicans choose the right candidate, so that we can restore conservative values to the White House and get our country back on track," Scott said in a statement.

The Huntsman town hall, the first in the series, will be held at 5 p.m. at Charles Towne Landing. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., will hold a Sept. 5 forum in Columbia for the Republican candidates. Unlike a debate, the candidates will be invited on the stage individually to take questions from DeMint and two other hosts. ETV will broadcast the forum.

Additionally, the third annual RedState Gathering will be held Aug. 12-14 at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston. Gov. Nikki Haley will be the keynote speaker. Several of 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls have been invited.

Scott's First in the South Presidential Town Hall Series is co-sponsored by GOP and tea party activist groups throughout the Lowcountry. Other dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855, follow her at and read her Political Briefings blog at