The candidates for U.S. Senate - including incumbent Lindsey Graham - have agreed to take part in a town hall event later this month in Columbia that is sponsored by Palmetto Family, a faith-based Christian group.

Based on the format, the candidates won't be on stage together but will have about 10 minutes of solo time each to answer questions from various panelists.

Oran Smith, president and CEO of the group, said that while Palmetto Family has an ethics, social and family supportive mission, the questions won't all come from that point of view given that the Senate race is about what is going on in Washington as well.

"We won't just be camping out on those issues," he said.

Palmetto Family was chartered as a non-profit education organization in 1993. It works with such groups as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

In South Carolina, its members have been behind efforts involving banning partial birth abortion, the defeat of video poker, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and defending religious liberties, according to their media materials.

The town hall event is scheduled for May 30. Candidates who accepted invitations to participate include Republicans Det Bowers, Lee Bright, Richard Cash, Bill Connor, Lindsey Graham and Nancy Mace. Democrat Jay Stamper also will take part.

The event will be at the Booker T. Washington High School Auditorium, which is now part of the campus of the University of South Carolina.

Though there will be no formal interaction of the Senate hopefuls, it will be the second time the candidates will be together in the last 10 days of the campaign for a media forum. A televised debate on SC ETV is set for June 7. The election is June 10.

Tickets for the event are $50. About 500 seats will be available, Smith said. It will run from 7-8:30 p.m.

For more information visit:

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.