What can South Carolina expect during the next 11 days? A lot of television ads, candidate visits, yard signs, two televised debates (including one from Charleston on Jan. 19) and national as well as international media attention. Once the state's GOP primary wraps up on Jan. 21, then it all goes poof.
1. Who has the most at stake here? Most observers agree if Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich don't rekindle their campaigns here, they could be extinguished, possibly before Florida Republicans hold the next primary on Jan. 31.
2. What's at stake? The number and allotment of South Carolina's delegates to this summer's national GOP convention is expected to be hashed out by the state and national parties. But whoever comes in first here is assured of favorable headlines and a special bragging right: Since 1980, the winner here has gone on to win the GOP nomination.
3. Who has the edge so far? Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been placing second in most South Carolina polls for a long time, but the most recent ones gave him a slight lead. Still, many state voters say they still could change their minds.
4. When can I see the candidates? Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman visits North Charleston City Hall at 7 tonight, and all candidates are expected at a noon forum Saturday at the Sottile Theatre (email candidate questions and your name to firstname.lastname@example.org if you're undecided and interested in attending). Keep checking www.postandcourier.com and The Post and Courier for candidates' schedules.
5.Will the Sunshine State steal our thunder? Florida moved up its primary to Jan. 31, forcing South Carolina to move its date up as well. So far, there are few signs that candidates plan to skip over South Carolina to improve their odds in the Sunshine State.