Carly Fiorina, whose clashes with front-runner Donald Trump at last week’s CNN debate reshaped the Republican chase for the White House, will be at The Citadel in Charleston on Tuesday during a frenetic week of candidate appearances throughout South Carolina.
Trump, the caustic real estate mogul and reality TV star, also will be in the Lowcountry, attending a gathering of African-American business leaders in North Charleston and a town hall hosted by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott in Columbia on Wednesday.
Trump’s two appearances in South Carolina follow an 11th-hour cancellation last week when he bowed out of the conservative Heritage Action’s forum Friday in Greenville because of a pressing “business transaction.”
Trump’s cancellation merely delayed his arrival in the Palmetto State, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday ended his faltering campaign, canceling his one scheduled appearance at a meet-and-greet in Warrenville. At one point, Walker was leading in the polls in Iowa and South Carolina, two of the early voting states.
Trump and Fiorina, now Nos. 1 and 2 in the polls, come into the state with something to prove.
Fiorina must demonstrate in her address on national security at the formerly all-male Citadel that she has a sense of military know-how beyond her background as former CEO of one-time computer giant Hewlett-Packard.
Trump needs to show he can connect with minority voters after alienating the vast majority of Hispanics with talk of deportations and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Five of the remaining GOP candidates will be in the state this week, a clear sign of South Carolina’s importance as the large GOP field begins to be whittled down, first with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s withdrawal, and now with Walker pulling the plug.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Dinner on Thursday night in Mount Pleasant, along with stops locally or elsewhere by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Sens. Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham.
“This is just the opening of the spigot,” Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon said of the stream of candidates passing through South Carolina. “It will continue to flow up until the February primary. By then it will feel like we’ve been drinking from a firehose.”
The GOP primary, the first in the South, is set for Feb. 20.
Fiorina will be at The Citadel at the invitation of Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security, which is providing forums for all the candidates to discuss their positions on national defense and other global issues.
“Carly will detail specific foreign policy proposals to demonstrate how she is prepared to lead the resurgence of this great nation, here at home and around the world,” said Anna Epstein, press secretary for the Fiorina campaign.
Fiorina jumped into second place in the Republican race in the wake of her strong debate performance last week, according to a new national CNN/ORC poll released Sunday. While Trump is still considered the front-runner with a 24-percent level of support, Fiorina moved into second with 15 percent. It puts her a nod ahead of neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, at 14 percent.
Trump will address more than 500 small-business owners at the Greater Charleston Business Alliance conference in North Charleston on Wednesday. It is sponsored by the S.C. African-American Chamber of Commerce.
South Carolina Trump spokesman state Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Charleston, said the candidate usually speaks from the hip and that it is too early to predict what his message would be. “I know that he’s looking forward to talking to business people in South Carolina,” said Merrill. “He speaks the same language.”