When Tim Pawlenty arrives in South Carolina to take part in tonight's first GOP Presidential Primary debate it will be only his second visit to the state this year.

In fact, of the five candidates set to debate tonight only one, Rick Santorum, has spent a decent amount of time campaigning in the Palmetto State.

Even though Governor Pawlenty may remain relatively unknown by South Carolina voters, he is striking a chord with those watching the GOP primary race unfold.

"Tim Pawlenty has the best chance of any of the five (appearing at the debate)" says Clemson University political science professor and Republican consultant, Dave Woodard. "I think he can do pretty well here if he can get his message out. He's in the best position of the five candidates (at the debate), assuming he can get money."

Woodard points to Pawlenty's executive experience serving as Minnesota governor for eight years and his traditional upbringing as attractive assets. "Having a strong moral background is very important here."

The Greenville Tea Party listed Pawlenty as a featured speaker at its "Freedom Rally" being held Thursday in downtown Greenville, S.C., the site of the GOP Presidential Primary debate. However, Governor Pawlenty's staff tells Fox News he will not be attending the rally. Pawlenty's last visit to South Carolina was in March when he spoke at the Aiken County Republican Club luncheon meeting. The following day he spent time chatting with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at the Statehouse.

Woodard says securing support from Gov. Haley or South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint is critical for Pawlenty doing well in South Carolina. "If he could secure a DeMint endorsement he could do well here."

Wooing voters in South Carolina carries even more weight considering ever since 1980, the state's primary voters have chosen the candidate who goes on to become the Republican nominee.

Pawlenty's team says he will make his official announcement about running for President later this spring.