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Carroll County citizens will have the opportunity Tuesday, Feb. 11, to question the five candidates running for the top spot in county government before casting their ballots in the May 20 primary.
The News-Democrat and the Carroll County High School Future Farmers of America are hosting a judge-executive debate at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Cartmell Elementary cafeteria.
“We believe the candidate forum is an opportunity for voters to learn more about the candidates who want to lead Carroll County for the next four years,” News-Democrat Publisher and debate moderator Jeff Moore said.
Five Democrats are seeking the chance to succeed retiring Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson this year: Clay Cable, Kathy Goff, Dean Miller, Jesse Saggus and Bobby Lee Westrick. All five candidates have agreed to participate.
Candidates will briefly introduce themselves before the debate. The News-Democrat will prepare questions in advance, and all questions to the candidates will come through Moore. Candidates will not have access to any of the questions prior to the debate.
There also will be a box where the audience may submit questions before the debate, and the newspaper staff may choose questions from it.
Election signs for individual candidates will not be permitted in the building during the debate.
The evening will kick off with an auction at 6:30 p.m., hosted by the Carroll County Tobacco Festival and FFA. It was originally scheduled during last year’s festival, but was rained out. Items were donated to the Tobacco Festival and will be hosted by auctioneers Joe Vessels and Danny Marsh. Proceeds will benefit both organizations.
The debate and auction is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
Welch’s Riverside Restaurant will sell chili by the bowl.
Vessels said he hopes there will be a good crowd at the debate. He said he also has informed the high school history teachers to tell their students, and they may offer extra credit.
“I think this is a good opportunity for people to hash out the issues,” Vessels said. “I also want to show the kids it’s OK to get involved in (politics).”