Five Republican candidates bidding for the current S.C. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will participate in a debate hosted by the Aiken Republican Club later this month.

The debate will take place during the club's monthly luncheon on April 16.

Republican primary challengers Det Bowers, Lee Bright, Richard Cash, Bill Connor and Nancy Mace have accepted the club's invitation to participate, according to Club President Ken Gordon.

Graham was also invited but has declined to participate, according to a press release.

“This seat has been held since 2003 by Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is being challenged for his third term in what is shaping up to be a hotly contested primary,” according to the release.

The debate will feature a panel made up of local television and print journalists posing questions to the five candidates, according to the release.

Lunch will be held before the debate at Newberry Hall, 117 Newberry St. S.W.

The debate will follow across the street in the URS Center for the Performing Arts.

Anyone who would like to attend is asked to email Gordon at or call 803-257-1492.

The cost of the event for Aiken Republican Club members is $15 and $20 for non-members.

Registration for the meeting will begin at 11 a.m., and lunch will be served at 11:45.

?Attendees can make reservations up to 4 p.m. on April 15. Cancellations also must be received by April 15.

For more information about this luncheon and past club events, visit