Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain may be in Greenville Thursday, but Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump probably won’t.

In fact, the GOP presidential debate billed as the “first in the South” might lack most of the current favorites among Palmetto State Republicans.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who placed first in last month’s Winthrop Poll of state Republican voters, has let it be known via a website that he won’t be there.

Matt Rhoades, a top Romney advisor, was quoted on the mittromneycentral.com saying Romney was passing over the debate “because it’s still early, the field is too unsettled and he’s not yet an announced candidate.”

S.C. GOP executive director Joel Sawyer said Monday he expects the field — which will be announced Wednesday morning — to include at least five candidates.

Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.