Gov. Nikki Haley will attend tonight’s Propeller Club’s forum for 1st District Congressional candidates to see the field first hand.

While Haley has said she plans to remain neutral in the 16-way Republican primary on March 19, her attendance increases speculation that she could endorse someone once the race narrows to a two-person April 2 runoff, as expected.

Haley’s spokesman Rob Godfrey said the governor is interested in the race —a race created by her appointment of Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate.

“We have a great slate of candidates running to succeed Tim Scott in the House, a number of candidates who share the same values the governor shares and will fight for the same thing the governor will fight for,” he said today. “She wants to see those candidates in person.”

During an earlier visit to Charleston, Haley said she did not expect to take sides in the crowded primary, but she left the door open to endorse someone in the runoff.

The large field includes several state lawmakers — a group with which Haley has occasionally butted heads —some tea party voices, even her old political mentor and early supporter, former Gov. Mark Sanford.

We’ll have more about the debate later today on postandcourier.com