John Marinko, debate committee chairman for the county GOP party, said the debates will be informational and presented as a service to county citizens.
“Certainly there are more and more races that are being opposed,” Marinko said. “We want to get everyone’s viewpoint out there to the public to help (them) make a decision on who might by the best candidate in these races.”
Debates currently scheduled are: May 31 at 7 p.m. at the GOP Headquarters in Towne Lake for the Cherokee County tax commissioner and the Cherokee County sheriff’s races; June 4 at 7 p.m. at the GOP Headquarters for the state House District 22 seat, Board of Education Post 2 seat and the Cherokee County Commission Post 2 seat; and June 11 at 7 p.m. at GOP Headquarters for State House District 20 and 21 seats.
Debates for other races will be announced after qualifying ends May 25.
The debates will feature both questions from members of a selected media panel, including the Cherokee Tribune, WJLA Radio and the Cherokee Ledger-News, and submitted questions from the audience.
Though no questions will be asked directly from the audience, those in attendance will be allowed to submit legible, typed or handwritten questions to the debate committee at least 20 minutes before the start of the debate.
Plain index cards will be available for the audience to fill out with questions for the candidates before each debate. The debate committee will determine which questions will be asked by the moderator.
“The rules are very fair and I think everybody’s going to enjoy participating in the debates,” Marinko said. “So far, all of the candidates I’ve spoken with are certainly eager and looking forward to it.”
Each debate will feature at least two candidate groups and will be moderated by Jeff Duncan or Pete Castello. For each race, candidates will be allowed one hour of debate time.
Candidates whose opponents fail to attend the debate will have 30 minutes and candidates who are unopposed may have up to 15 minutes to present.
All audience members, media and participants in the debate are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to the debate start time.
Marinko said DVDs will be available for purchase for those unable to attend the events. Requests for copies can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.