All hopefuls in the District 2 race for the Statesboro City Council said they will attend a candidate forum later this month, except incumbent council member Gary Lewis.
Challengers Sam Jones, Donald Logan and Lance Turner accepted invitations to the public forum set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Honey Bowen Building. Lewis, however, said he would not attend.
“I’m going to have to pass on this one,” Lewis said.
Lewis, who has held a council seat since 1998 and is the longest-serving council member, offered no further explanation about his decision not to attend.
“I’m not going to guess Mr. Lewis’ motives for not coming,” said Logan, a pastor and retired military veteran. “I look at it as an opportunity to get my message out, tell people why I’m running and meet voters.”
The forum is sponsored by the Statesboro Herald and will be shown live on statesboroherald.com beginning at 7 p.m. It will be preceded by a meet-and-greet with the candidates at 6:30 p.m. in the civic room of the Honey Bowen Building. The public is invited to speak with Jones, Logan and Turner face-to-face about any issues or to just meet the candidates.
“I welcome the chance to meet the public and have them get to know me a little bit better,” said Turner, who owns and operates Eagle’s Nest Learning Center in Statesboro. “I hope we have a large crowd who are interested in learning about each candidate.”
The forum will be moderated by Joe McGlamery, president of the Statesboro Herald. Candidates will be given two minutes each to introduce themselves and then be asked six questions relating to their candidacy and issues in the city, alternating in order of who answered a question first. Candidates will have up to two minutes to respond to each question. Candidates will be given two minutes each to make a closing statement.
One question will come directly from the Statesboro Herald and five questions will come from the audience. People in attendance will be encouraged to submit questions for the candidates to answer.
“I’m happy to come out and talk about my vision for the city’s future with the public,” said Jones, an independent life insurance salesman. “It’s important they know who they are voting for and why they should support you.”
According to Shontay Jones with the Bulloch County Registrar’s Office, there were 2,665 active voters registered in District 2 as of Tuesday and another 665 inactive voters. Inactive means people are registered and eligible to vote, but they either haven’t voted or had no contact with the elections office in the past two to three years. Next Tuesday is the last day to register to be able to vote in the Nov. 8 election.
Also, according to the city charter, there will be a runoff between the two top vote getters if no one candidate receives 50 percent plus one of ballots cast.
In the 2009 election, 321 total votes were cast in the District 4 election won by John Riggs and 314 votes were cast in the District 1 election won by Tommy Blitch. Many more votes were cast in the 2007 election. Lewis won the District 2 seat, as 689 people voted. Travis Chance was elected in District 5 with 782 total votes cast. And 548 people voted in District 3 when Will Britt was re-elected.
James Healy can be reached at (912) 489-9402.