Local News

July 23, 2010

All candidates confirmed for Saturday’s Republican debates

With gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel confirming Wednesday night, 10 Republican candidates will be in Dalton Saturday for the first debates of the runoff campaign.

In addition to Handel, gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, attorney general candidates Sam Olens and Preston Smith, insurance commissioner candidates Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield, Public Service Commission candidates Tim Echols and John Douglas, and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and his challenger, former state senator Lee Hawkins, have confirmed they will take part in the debates, according to Georgia Republican Party 9th District Chairman Doug Grammer.

The event will start at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn at 877 College Drive. The public is invited, and there’s room for about 200 people. There will be no admission charged, but organizers are asking for a $5 donation from those who attend.

Grammer said the debates will last about two and a half hours, with approximately 30 minutes devoted to each race.

“We’ll have a two-minute opening speech (from each candidate) and a one-minute closing statement, and all the questions will come from the moderators,” Grammer said.

If one candidate makes a claim about his or her opponent in his answer, moderators may give the opponent 30 seconds to respond.

“We’re definitely going to start with the governor’s race, and we are definitely going to end with the congressional candidates,” Grammer said. “For the others, I expect to go attorney general, insurance commissioner and public service commissioner.”

But Grammer said the exact order of the middle debates may be changed if the schedules of the candidates require it.

Grammer said the debates will be broadcast live on radio through the Georgia News Network. He said the Republican Party will videotape the event and show it on cable systems around the 9th District.

The moderators will be Atlanta Journal-Constitution political writer Jim Galloway, Georgia News Network reporter John Clark and radio talk show host Martha Zoller.

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