SC GOP announces final lineup for Thursday's Upstate presidential debate

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Republicans have announced the final lineup for Thursday night's GOP presidential primary debate in the Upstate.

The party says former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gary Johnson of New Mexico; pizza magnate Herman Cain and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas will attend.

Other candidates like former governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Sarah Palin of Alaska and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not be in attendance at the first GOP debate for the 2012 election. Those more popular names have not yet officially thrown their names into the hat.

Candidates can't participate unless they form an exploratory committee, file state paperwork and pay a $25,000 fee to get on the South Carolina's primary ballot. They also must meet national polling criteria.

The debate takes place Thursday at 9 p.m. in Greenville at the Peace Center.

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Candidates will get a second chance for another debate at the GOP's Silver Elephant Banquet on Friday.

State GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd says the banquet event will give candidates in waiting a chance to lay out their views in this key early primary state.

Floyd says the list of forum participants will be released later. Several potential candidates including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are expected to attend the debate.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)