Five GOP hopefuls set for May debate

The South Carolina GOP announced at least five presidential hopefuls are set to join its primary debate next month.

The list of names is preliminary and doesn't include some of the frontrunners, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are other notable names missing from the list.

In order to be considered, a potential candidate needs to have filed paperwork to appear on the ballot in South Carolina and meet the benchmark of registering at least 1 percent in national polls, which were the criteria for the party's debate in May 2007.

According to GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd five candidates have met the criteria and are expected to attend: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).

Pawlenty is the only one of these candidates to have filed an exploratory committee. None of them have made an official announcement.

California Republican Fred Karger has said he would be "delighted to participate" in the May 5 debate, which the state GOP is co-hosting with Fox News, but he might not meet the polling criteria.

Palin and Huckabee are Fox News contributors; Gingrich and Santorum recently lost their contracts with the network because they have indicated they will be running.

This will be the first debate of the 2012 presidential cycle. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library had planned to hold a debate May 2 but postponed it due to the lack of official candidates in the race.

-—This post was updated at 5:02 p.m.