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GOP Congressional debate at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Statesboro High
12th district candidates will spar in auditorium; meet and greet will be held at 5:30 p.m.
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Four Republican candidates seeking the nomination for Georgia 12th congressional district will face each other in Statesboro Friday evening for the final debate of the primary season.
    Sponsored by the Bulloch County GOP, Mike Horner, Ray McKinney, Jeanne Seaver and Carl Smith will take the stage in the Statesboro High School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. All four are hoping to face either three-term Congressman John Barrow or his primary challenger, Regina Thomas, in November.
    BCGOP Chairman Lawton Sack originally intended to hold a non-partisan debate in Bulloch County with all six candidates, but Barrow’s congressional schedule conflicted with the proposed dates.
    “The Republican Party of Bulloch County is excited about hosting a Republican congressional debate in Statesboro,” Sack said. “This event is an excellent opportunity for the citizens of Bulloch County and Georgia's 12th district to meet and hear the candidates before the July 20th Primary.”
    Horner said he’s always performed well at the debates and is excited about the chance to get in front of the people one last time before the primary.
    “I always look forward to the debates. I think they’re fantastic venues to showcase what we know and what we would do about certain problems,” Horner said. “It’s a great forum for me and all the candidates.”
    McKinney said he loves debates, because if a candidate cannot compete against his party contemporaries, they won’t be able to compete with the Democratic candidate come November.
   “As far as the voters go, they can’t get too much information,” McKinney said. “That’s one thing I like about the debates - that it gives people the opportunity to see all the candidates and find out all the information one-on-one.”
     Smith said he is eager to get in front of Bulloch County voters and focus on the positive, because he thinks people are looking for a candidate and a platform to get behind.
    “I want to give people a reason to vote for somebody and not vote against them,” Smith said. “I just want to stay positive with my campaign of public service, principled leadership and building trust between the American citizens and their government. That’s what I’m going to focus on in the debate.”
    Seaver said she believe being the only woman seeking the Repbublican nomination gives her an edge over the other candidates.
    “I’m looking forward to it. I love the people in Statesboro,” Seaver said. “I’m the only one who can beat John Barrow. I know it – without a doubt.”
    The BCGOP will host a candidate “Meet and Greet” at 5:30 p.m. that will give citizens to talk with the candidates and ask them questions face-to-face. In addition to the Republican congressional candidates, Tom McElwee and representatives for Jan Tankersley will be on hand to meet with voters. Both candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Georgia’s State Representative District #158, but since there is no Democratic candidate in the race, the July 20 primary will act as a de facto election for the seat.
    Sack also wanted to thank two individuals who helped make the debate possible.
    “We are thankful to Dr. Lewis Holloway and Dr. Marty Waters for allowing us to the beautiful facilities at Statesboro High School,” Sack said.
    Today and Friday are the last two days for early voting. Early ballots can be cast between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Bulloch County Courthouse or the Honey Bowen Building on Max Lockwood Drive.

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