Republican Gubernatorial candidates debate at Clemson

(WIS) - For the first time, all Republican candidates running for South Carolina Governor took the stage in a televised debate Wednesday night.

The debate took place at Clemson University.

Kevin Bryant, Governor Henry McMaster, Yancey McGill, Catherine Templeton, and John Warren all took the stage. They answered to voters on gun control, school safety, taxes, immigration and the VC Summer Nuclear project.

A big talker during the debate was child poverty education.

Candidate Catherine Templeton vowed to protect students. "I will protect the lives of children all over this state to make sure our South Carolina children get a wonderful start," she said.

Candidates' plans to improve the lives of children born into poverty ranged from making changes within the education system and fighting for school choice.

Candidate John Warren mentioned that the SC education system is ranked 50th in the country. "We need to improve our education system. That starts with school choice," he said. " No parent should have to send their child to a failing school."

The question of funding was also brought up.

"The budget before the state needs to defund any taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood," Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant said.

Governor Henry McMaster replied that he plans on doing that. "We need to do that and I will do that. But also there's another line of defense...we have to ask permission of some things from the federal government that provides the money. I issued the order to seek that exemption."

Candidate Yancey Mcgill emphasized the importance of community.

"Life is to be preserved but it's also to be taken care of. Not just by a mama and a daddy...but the community needs to work together."

The Republicans will debate again in two weeks. The three Democratic candidates are lined up for a debate Thursday night.

The Gubernatorial Primary is set for June 12th.

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.