The four Republican candidates jockeying for a chance to face incumbent Congressman John Barrow will face off in a debate in Statesboro tonight at Ogeechee Technical College.
Candidates Rick Allen, Lee Anderson, Wright McLeod and Maria Sheffield are competing for the Republican nomination in the reconfigured 12th Congressional District to face Barrow in November, in a race that will receive national attention.
Republican lawmakers in the Georgia General Assembly redrew the district, held by John Barrow since 2005, to cut out his home base of Savannah and include more Republican strongholds. Barrow moved to Augusta in March to still live within the district. Republicans see this as a strong chance to win a Democratic seat.
The event is hosted by Georgia Eagle Media, in conjunction with the Bulloch County Republican Party and Georgia 12th District Republican Party and will be held in the Joe Kennedy Auditorium on OTC's campus starting at 7 p.m. For those unable to attend, the debate will be broadcast live on radio station WMCD-FM 107.3 and streamed live online at statesboro365.com.
Bulloch County GOP Chairman Jim Benton said he read a letter to the editor in the Statesboro Herald in which the author was sick of all the money in political campaigns and wanted a chance to get to know the candidates and make an informed choice.
"Well, this is it, and it only costs the gas to come to OTC for one night this summer to get to know all of your Republican candidates. I am fairly certain that most of the talk will be about issues, and you will have a chance to submit your own questions," Benton said. "Just remember that campaigns raise money to reach the voters with their message. This is a chance for you, the voter, to reach the candidate, no money needed."
Before the debate, there will be a local candidate Meet and Greet starting at 6 p.m. in the OTC lobby. Candidates for Bulloch County sheriff, Ogeechee District Attorney, Bulloch County School Board and other contests, as well as local officials and civic leaders from the area, will be in attendance.
Lisa Muldrew, Statesboro High School's choral director, will sing the national anthem, long-time radio personality Tommy Palmer will moderate the debate, and Phil Boyum will be the emcee.