MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The USS Yorktown was packed with voters from the 1st Congressional district Tuesday night, each of them curious to find out which candidate would best represent them in Washington, D.C.
Eight of the nine GOP candidates attended the debate hosted by the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester GOP parties.
In addition to the debate, audience members were eligible to cast their vote in a straw poll.
Around 8:30 p.m., after a brief introduction from moderator Andy Savage, the candidates individually took their places on stage.
State House Rep. Tim Scott, Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond, Mt. Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson, Businessman Carroll Campbell, Businessman Mark Lutz, Attorney Larry Kobrovsky, Certified Public Accountant Clark Parker and former Charleston Southern University Vice President Stovall Witte were all in attendance.
It was a crowded stage, but one candidate was missing. Gulf War Veteran Katherine Jenerette is in the Army Reserves and currently on active duty at Fort Bragg.
From the economy to immigration, no debate topic was off limits. Each candidate had the chance to distinguish himself from his opponent on government spending, national security and the environment.
At one point during the meeting Kobrovsky expressed his concern over the admission fee to the event. According to him, it created an unfair advantage for those candidates with more money.
In response, Charleston County GOP Chairman Lin Bennet said "the ticket prices covered our operating costs for the event." Bennet also said the debate would air on television for people who could not attend Tuesday night.
Regardless of who wins the straw poll, the next 21 days will be crucial for the field of candidates and voters.
Who ever wins the GOP primary on June 8 will square off with the victor of the Democratic primary between Robert Burton and Ben Frasier, along with several third party candidates.