Just days ahead of the South Carolina primary, Republican presidential candidates were preparing for a town hall meeting in the Palmetto State. The CNN-hosted event will be held over the course of two nights, set for 8 p.m. EST Wednesday and Thursday. Both events will be moderated by news anchor Anderson Cooper.
The events will air live on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol and will be streamed live online at CNNGo. The live stream can be found here.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will take center-stage Wednesday in Greenville, while front-runner Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will appear in Columbia Thursday.
In previous town halls hosted by CNN, candidates have appeared separately and taken pre-selected questions from audience members. It’s a major change from the frequent Republican debates, which have seen contenders directly challenge one another and respond to arguments against their policies and electability.
Trump, who has led the Republican race for months, remains in the lead in South Carolina. Several candidates are vying for second place, as Rubio and Cruz were each polling at 18 percent, according to a Public Policy Polling survey, the State reported Monday. Kasich polled at 10 percent, while Bush and Carson followed with 7 percent support each.
On the Democratic side of the race, national front-runner Hillary Clinton maintains a double-digit lead, the State reported, citing a poll of 525 likely Democratic voters. The former secretary of state polled at 55 percent, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders held about 34 percent support.
The South Carolina primary is the next major voting event following Iowa and New Hampshire. On the Republican side of the race, Cruz led in Iowa, while Trump won in New Hampshire. Kasich, long overshadowed by his harder-edged rivals, saw his support surge in New Hampshire, as he moved into second.