South Carolina will get its biggest taste yet of 2016 this weekend, when five presidential hopefuls visit the state GOP convention Saturday.
The five visiting Columbia are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
Some 1,500 Republicans from around the state are expected to attend the convention, where the party will elect its state chairman and hold a fundraising dinner.
The state GOP says even more White House hopefuls will send “video greetings”: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
The convention is the year’s largest gathering of Republicans in South Carolina.
The festivities kick off tonight with the Silver Elephant fundraising dinner and continue Saturday at the Columbia Convention Center.
In other news...
The state Senate refused Thursday to give its roads bill priority status.
A proposed fee on cellphone bills cleared the Senate by a narrow margin.
The Senate also passed expanded coverage for autism, but one lawmaker raised concerns about tying the state to Obamacare.
In an effort to restore trust in law enforcement, a Senate panel affirmed the public’s right to record cops and called for independent investigations into police shootings.
South Carolina is slated for an underground fuel pipeline to Florida.