Voters can find out where Republican candidates running for key state and federal offices stand at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Coastal Candidate Forum in Richmond Hill.
The event is open to the public and sponsored by the Bryan County Republican Party. It will include GOP hopefuls running for the First District House of Representatives seat currently held by Congressman Jack Kingston, who is running for the U.S. Senate, and a number of candidates looking to serve in the Georgia General Assembly.
The forum will serve two purposes, according to Bryan County Republican Party Chairman Russ Carpenter.
“It’s a rare opportunity to meet the candidates and see how they want to spend our money,” Carpenter said. “Each will be given a little bit of time to give their platform, and afterward there will be a meet and greet where the public can ask questions of the candidates one-on-one.”
The forum will be preceded by a meeting of the Georgia 1st District Republican Party, which gets under way at 6 p.m., and Carpenter said the event will also serve as a membership drive for the Bryan County Republican Party.
Among those slated to speak are congressional candidates, including state Sen. Buddy Carter, who will appear via recorded video, Darwin Carter, Jeff Chapman and Dr. Bob Johnson, each of whom hopes to win the GOP nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Kingston.
Also slated to speak is District 165 Rep. Ron Stephens, a Garden City Republican who represents South Bryan and Chatham County in the General Assembly, and three GOP candidates for District 166 – Jesse Petrea, Carl Smith and Martin Sullivan.
District 166 is largely in Chatham County but also includes Fort McAllister.
State Sen. Ben Watson will also speak.
Candidates will have between 5-10 minutes to present their platforms. They will appear in alphabetical order by office. Local television personality and former state representative Sonny Dixon will moderate the event.
Richmond Hill High School’s Young Republicans and their parents will help stage the event, said Carpenter, a government teacher at RHHS as well as a first-term Richmond Hill City Council member.
Carpenter said a recent opinion column by Sean Register may have summed up the purpose of the forum the best.
“He basically said it was a good way to see the people you’re going to be employing for public office,” Carpenter said.