April 3, 2014

Statewide political forum planned for Dalton

Will the candidates attend?

Charles Oliver

— Dalton could be the focus of statewide politics for one night later this month, and Dalton area voters could get a chance to see the men and women running for governor and for the U.S. Senate up close.

But will those candidates show up?

The League of Women Voters of Georgia and the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area plan to host a candidates forum on Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at the trade center for all qualified candidates for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss and for governor.

“We try to move around the state with the various events that we do,” said Elizabeth Poythress, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia. “Atlanta is a great place, but it seems like everything happens in Atlanta. The Dalton League wanted to host a forum, and Dalton is a great place for that.”

The League is a nonpartisan group dedicated to educating voters.

Poythress said the event will be a forum, with candidates answering questions from a moderator, not a debate.

“The questions are being devised by a committee, but we are soliciting questions from the public,” she said.

Those who wish to submit a question can email the League at forums@lwvga.org.

Poythress says the League sent invitations to the candidates last week but hasn’t received any responses.

“Of course, they are not due back until the first of next week. We will be following up with some phone calls, and we hope we get some activity,” she said.

At press time Thursday evening, it wasn’t clear what candidates, if any, will be in Dalton.

Former Dalton mayor David Pennington, who is challenging incumbent Nathan Deal in the May 20 Republican primary for governor, said he has told League members he will attend “if they can get something together.”

Jen Talaber, communications director for Deal’s campaign, said the campaign had not received an invitation.

Bryan Thomas, a spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, said that campaign had not made a decision on whether to attend the event.

“We have a lot of invitations on the table, and we need to see how that might work into our schedule,” he said.

Officials working with several other candidates did not respond to emails and telephone messages by press time on Thursday.