The 2016 GOP pre-primary is turning to battleground state South Carolina, with Tea Party favorites Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz attending major events to draw attention to their goal of trimming the size of the government.

Cruz went first, on Monday appearing at a “Pastors and Pews” event held by evangelical organizer David Lane who is trying to expand involvement of Christians in the 2016 election. It was Cruz’s second address to one of Lane’s events.

Speaking to 400 in Columbia, he preached politics and region, defended marriage and assailed abortion. “We need to defend life, and life at every stage, from conception,” said Cruz.

Cruz also railed against the economy and compared today to the late 1970s when Ronald Reagan took on former President Jimmy Carter. He said the winning Reagan revolution was carried by “Christians who stood up, pastors who stood up.”

Paul is headed to Charleston next week to address the Citadel's Corps of Cadets.

The school said that he will be participating in their six-decade-long record of having national leaders discuss “Greater Issues” with cadets. Their “Greater Issues Series” has brought presidents, heads of state, scholars, diplomats, journalists and distinguished business and military leaders to the school.

Both Paul and Cruz spoke at a similar “Pastors and Pews” events in Iowa this past summer.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at