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      Town Hall invites all 19 congressional candidates on stage

      GOP candidates at a forum last month (WCIV)

      By Stefanie Bainumsbainum@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Time is running out for 1st Congressional District candidates to get a step up on the competition. There are nearly 20 people running to fill Senator{}Tim Scott's old U.S. House seat, and with the primary a little over a week away, time is ticking for the candidates to make their mark.

      All candidates have a chance to speak Monday night at the College of Charleston's Bully Pulpit Series Town Hall event. Held at the Sottile Theatre in downtown Charleston, the event starts at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

      Event organizers say they hoped it would be the first time all 19 candidates from all parties were on the same stage debating together. However, both Democratic candidates - Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Ben Frasier - declined the invitation.

      Candidates who will be taking the stage Monday night include Teddy Turner, Eugene Platt, Jeff King, Elizabeth Moffly, Shawn Pinkston, Larry Grooms, Peter McCoy, Mark Sanford, Tim Larkin, and Keith Blandford.

      Republican candidate Jonathan Hoffman's campaign says{}the former White House official wishes he could attend but is at a town hall hosted by State Rep. Shannon Erickson.

      College of Charleston Political Science Dept. Chair, Gibbs Knotts, is the moderator of the Bully Pulpit{}Town Hall and says that each candidate will have three minutes each{}to make opening remarks. Knotts says he will be asking the candidates questions as well as taking questions from students and members of the community submitted prior to the event.

      "With only a week remaining this is one of the last opportunities for voters to hear from the candidates," Moderator Gibbs Knotts said. "It's a crowded field so candidates will try to stand out and connect with voters."

      Some areas that will be discussed in Monday's debate include higher education issues, school safety, and the federal budget, among many others.

      "This is a Republican leaning district so whoever emerges from the crowded field of GOP contenders will be a favorite to replace Tim Scott."

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