If you don’t like Republican presidential politics, you might want to consider leaving town for the next two days.
The campaigning is going to be intense in Greenville on Friday and Saturday, with five announced presidential candidates – and four other politicians who may join the race for the White House – trying to impress voters.
The main action takes place at the Peace Center on Saturday, when the conservative group Citizens United brings together eight major White House hopefuls for a full day of back-to-back stump speeches.
Scheduled speakers include retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – all of whom have announced presidential campaigns.
Also scheduled to speak are four other Republicans who have been gearing up to run for the White House: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
More than 2,000 seats in the Peace Center’s main concert hall have been reserved by activists from South Carolina and 26 other states, according to organizers of the South Carolina Freedom Summit.
Presidential politics is also scheduled to unfold at three separate events featuring individual candidates or potential candidates.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at the Embassy Suites hotel on Verdae Boulevard on Friday, three days after announcing his second presidential campaign. The 11:30 a.m. lunch is part of the Upstate Chamber Coalition’s ongoing Presidential Series.
On Friday evening, Perry presides over a “town hall” at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, where the owners keep a photograph on the wall of the time they served Ronald Reagan as he campaigned for president in 1976.
The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., but the Greenville County Republican Party is urging its members to arrive early at the restaurant along Wade Hampton Boulevard in Taylors.
Carson is the special guest at a breakfast Saturday morning before the Freedom Summit kicks off at 9 a.m.
He’s due at Tommy’s Country Ham House on Rutherford Street, a traditional stop for candidates courting Greenville voters, for an hour beginning at 7:30 a.m.
You might not be able to escape the politics even if you stay home and watch television.
Club For Growth, a group out of Washington, D.C. that champions economic growth and limited government, said it would begin airing television ads in Greenville on Wednesday to draw attention to tax increases in Arkansas when Huckabee was governor.
South Carolina Democrats, meanwhile, are anticipating the arrival of their party’s presidential frontrunner, former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has said she will visit the state this month, though details haven’t been released.
Clinton’s South Carolina campaign gathered volunteers for a phone bank in Greenville on Tuesday and is promising nearly a dozen house parties at various locations around the state in coming weeks.
South Carolina’s first-in-the-South presidential preference primaries draw White House hopefuls to the state every four years.
Greenville is a key stop for Republicans since it’s the biggest GOP county in the state.
Greenville County generated nearly 13 percent of the statewide vote during the 2012 Republican presidential primary, far more than any other county.
This election cycle, the Republican primary is tentatively set for Feb. 20 and the Democratic contest for one week later.