Six candidates for Georgia governor and more than 20 other Republican hopefuls running for state offices will be in Statesboro today for a candidate “Meet and Greet” and gubernatorial debate at Statesboro High School.
State Senator Jeff Chapman from Brunswick, former U.S. Congressman Nathan Deal, former Georgia Senate president Eric Johnson, video and radio producer Ray McBerry and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine will all take part in the Primary Gubernatorial Debate, the first debate since state candidate qualifying ended last Friday. Each is seeking to succeed current Gov. Sonny Perdue who is prevented from seeking a third term under state law.
Former Secretary of State Karen Handel also qualified, but she has declined to take part in the forum due to differences with McBerry. She will, however, participate in the candidate Meet and Greet prior to the debate.
The public is invited to the free forum, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the new auditorium of Statesboro High School. The forum, moderated by Statesboro Herald President Joe McGlamery, will be broadcast live on the Internet at both www.statesboroherald.com and www.BoroLive.com. Georgia Eagle Media also will air the forum live on two of their radio stations - WWNS 1240 AM and WHKN 94.9 FM.
Most of the questions for the debate will come from ones submitted by the audience on index cards before the event starts. Once the debate is over, a straw poll will be conducted to gauge the audience’s impressions of the debate participants.
Before the forum, the Bulloch County Republicans will play host to a candidate “Meet and Greet” that begins at 5 p.m. in the SHS cafeteria. With nearly every statewide Republican candidate expected to attend, Bulloch GOP Chairman Lawton Sack said the event provides the people of Bulloch County and the surrounding areas an excellent opportunity to talk face-to-face with individuals who may occupy the highest positions in the state come January.
Oxendine, currently serving out his fourth term as Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, said he’s running to get away from politics as usual and move toward free enterprise principles.
"We must reform our tax code, fix our infrastructure problems, and put our children first if we want to attract jobs and ensure that Georgia is the best state in the nation to raise a family,” Oxendine said. “I look forward to discussing these critical issues and more at the debate Friday night in Statesboro."