When Winthrop University welcomes the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates for a nationally televised forum on Nov. 6, the school also will play host to one Republican contender as well.
On the same date as the Democratic forum announced last week, Winthrop has a separate “presidential town hall” scheduled for the other side.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., will host a town hall event with GOP candidate and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at noon Nov. 6 in Winthrop’s Richardson Ballroom. The event is one of several Scott is holding with different GOP candidates around the state ahead of the Republicans’ South Carolina primary on Feb. 20.
The overlap between the two presidential events is a coincidence. Scott’s office booked the location well in advance of the announcement that most if not all of the Democratic presidential candidates would be on campus the same day for a forum televised on MSNBC.
Scott communications director Sean Smith confirmed the town hall will go forward despite Paul’s Democratic rivals gathering nearby. He said concerns with scheduling for both senators and working in another Rock Hill stop on the town hall tour made rescheduling the event difficult even if they wanted to change the time.
“We want to get the (GOP) candidates to as many cities as possible,” Smith said. “There are a lot of logistics that go into it beyond the room.”
The S.C. Democratic Party, which is organizing the forum for its party’s candidates, has yet to announce a schedule for the event or locations for the event on Winthrop’s campus. But Smith said any political tourist visiting for the Democrats’ event – likely including members of the national political media – are welcome to stop by Scott’s free town hall as well.
“The more the merrier,” he said. “If someone’s going to the one event, maybe they can stop in and hear some Republican ideas too. They might even change their mind on some things.”
Anyone interested in attending Paul’s town hall appearance with Scott or any of the other candidate appearances around the state can sign up at timstownhalls.com.