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All 15 GOP Candidates Meet South Carolina Deadline and Hefty Fee

The Palmetto State's deadline of September 30 is the first threshold in the country that candidates must meet to compete in the primary process.
Image: Republicans running for President in 2016.
Republicans running for President in 2016. (L to r) Rubio, Fiorina, Carson, Santorum, Graham, Paul, Pataki, Huckabee, Cruz, Perry AP, Getty Images

All fifteen major Republican presidential candidates have cleared the first important hurdle for participating in the GOP's nominating process by beating the deadline to qualify for South Carolina’s primary -- and paying a hefty filing fee.

The Palmetto State's deadline is Wednesday -- the first filing deadline in the nation -- and the state's Republican Party requires a $40,000 fee, which is the most expensive filing fee in the country.

All the major candidates, including low-polling, lesser known candidates such as former Virginia Governor James Gilmore and former New York governor George Pataki have submitted the forms and paid. Pataki was the last one to file, having to overnight a package to the South Carolina Republican Party, which received the package midday on Wednesday.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who left the race last week, already had paid and does not get a refund. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who also dropped out because of problems raising money, never filed.

Each state has different requirements and those guidelines are set by the state party. What makes it more confusing and complicated is that the deadlines are not in order that the state holds its primary or caucus. Candidates must spend valuable time and resources researching and figuring out deadlines and requirements in each state, which often include a declaration of candidacy, signatures from voters, fees or some combination those three.

To help candidates maneuver the complicated and fluent process, the Republican National Lawyers Association drafted more than 50 reports totaling more than 300 pages to distribute to each campaign.

Even though the primary officially gets under way in less than four months, not all state parties have determined their deadline and guidelines. For instance, the secretary of state in New Hampshire, which is expected to be the first state to hold a primary (after Iowa's caucuses), just announced on Wednesday that November 20 is the Granite State’s deadline. The requirements are a declaration of candidacy and a $1,000 filing fee. If a candidate can’t pay the fee, they must obtain signatures from each county in the state.

NBC's Kailani Koenig contributed to this report.