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300+ Attend FreedomWorks Forum for SC1 Candidates

GOP candidates answer questions during conservative forum.

Voters are trying to find "their" candidate among the 16 GOP candidates running for S.C. First Congressional District. 

During a Saturday forum, the entire field answered questions in a forum presented by South Carolina Grassroots Community and FreedomWorks.

A voter guide distributed at the event ranked candidates from 1 to 5 based on their answers to 20 questions during an interview session prior to the forum. Ray Nash scored the highest with a 4.6. He was followed by Mark Sanford at 4.4 and then Sen. Larry Grooms and John Kuhn at 4.3. 

For many conservative voters, this was the first opportunity to see all the GOP candidates on one stage. Decided and some undecided voters filled the ballroom of the North Charleston Convention Center. More than 300 were in attendance.

"I'm here today to learn what they're all about and hear them speak to issues," Justin Farnsworth of Dorchester County said. 

"It's going to be tough (to decide). I just want to gather information from each one of them to see what they stand for and see if they believe like I believe," a Ladson area voter said. 

After the debate wrapped up, decisions still needed to be made. 

Kaaren Mann, an influential conservative who lives outside of the district, was most impressed by Sanford.

"I know that people have concerns about his past and his personal life but even when all that was going on he never stopped being a fiscal conservative," Mann said.

Some voters eliminated candidates off of the answers they heard during the forum.

"I heard who I'm not going to vote for a few cases," Joe Sturn said.

Sturn said King turned him off with his support of sequestration, and that Kuhn and Limehouse both seemed too boisterous. He also liked the answers that Larkin and Peter McCoy gave.

He said Nash really stood out in a positive way on questions the
constitutionality of laws. He said he also thought Hoffman had a very
strong answer on secondary education.

Curtis Bostic impressed Goose Creek voter John Trepen who said he liked how the candidate used the U.S. Constitution as a "litmus test."

Ann Ubelis February 17, 2013 at 03:13 AM
I came up with a closer count of apx 500 people at the forum. We had 4 teams of vetters interviewing all 16 Republican Candidates. I lead Team #4 and the participants who were scoring were wonderful. This is a personal thanks for all of their help, decorum and assistance. Without them this could have been pure chaos. Also thanks to each group that participated, the organizers ( of whom are several unsung heroes - Debbie) and the sponsors - Freedom Work & TEA Party Nation. Congrats to each candidate for a job well done, with special kiddos to Ray Nash who's scorecard was placed 1st and Mark Sanford who placed a very close 2nd.
Shawn Drury February 17, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Ann, I deducted volunteers and those obviously affiliated with campaigns from my count. SD
barbara pulicicchio February 21, 2013 at 07:31 AM
Yes! Ray Nash for Congress! You cannot find a more ethical man! Nor anyone who knows the Constitution better. If you go to his site, you can watch his videos in AWE!! nashforcongress.com

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