CNN is slated to host back-to-back Republican town hall forums in South Carolina ahead of the state’s GOP primary on Feb. 20. Over the course of the two events, the remaining six GOP presidential candidates will have the opportunity to answer questions from South Carolina voters, according to CNN.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are scheduled to appear in Greenville Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST, while businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are slated to take the stage Thursday at 8 p.m. EST in Columbia. CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper is expected to moderate both events.
Another town hall, hosted by MSNBC, is also scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST and will be directly competing with CNN’s event. MSNBC’s town hall is scheduled to feature Trump, as both stations battle for ratings in the days leading up to the Palmetto State’s primaries. “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are expected to host MSNBC’s Republican town hall, despite Scarborough recently coming under fire for getting too cozy with Trump, an allegation that the network and its hosts have denied.
Trump holds a hefty, 16-point lead in the polls among those likely to vote in South Carolina’s upcoming GOP primary, according to a CNN/ORC poll. The poll has Trump at 38 percent, followed by Cruz with 22 percent, Rubio with 14 percent, Bush at 10 percent, Carson with 6 percent and Kasich at 4 percent. South Carolina newspaper the State reported slightly different results, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. According to that survey, released Monday, Trump has 35 percent support, Rubio and Cruz tied for second with 18 percent each, followed by Kasich with 10 percent and trailed by Carson and Bush, tied with 7 support each.