Ronald McDonald House welcomes live-in Labradoodle

Ronald McDonald House manager Adriana Muina introduces Cooper, the Labradoodle, to Jaderirst Brown, 6.

CHARLESTON — This year’s presidential race is the focus of the annual Symposium on Southern Politics at The Citadel.

The two-day symposium opens Thursday at the military college in Charleston. There are 11 panels featuring political scientists and scholars from around the country during the event.

A discussion on Friday will focus on how the GOP will fare this year as it tries to find a nominee and whether President Barack Obama can again carry Southern states like Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

Other topics will include race in Southern politics, straight-ticket voting and the importance of Southern identity in politics.