Four Republican candidates hoping to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow in November will participate in their first head-to-head forum in front of Columbia County voters Saturday.
The candidates, vying for the redrawn 12th Congressional District, will debate at 10 a.m. at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center in the Columbia County Library in Evans, sponsored by the Greater Columbia County Republican Women and the Columbia County Republican Party.
The moderator will be Phil Kent, an Atlanta political consultant and former editorial page editor of The Augusta Chronicle.
All four candidates have confirmed their participation in the debate:
• Rick Allen, a commercial builder and resident of Augusta
• Lee Anderson, a Grovetown farmer who serves in the state Legislature
• Wright McLeod, an Augusta lawyer
• Maria Sheffield, a Dublin, Ga., lawyer.
The forum takes place on the home turf of Anderson, who lives in Columbia County, and Allen, who grew up in the county.
“I look forward to sharing with voters at the June 30th debate why I am the best person to send to Congress to plow it under,” Anderson said.
Allen said, “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share (my) message with voters in Columbia County, where I was born, educated and raised.”
McLeod – whose law practice includes an office near the venue – said, “I’m looking forward to the debate in Columbia County, because it gives voters an opportunity to ask questions that matter to them.”
Similarly, Sheffield said, “I welcome this chance to talk about my conservative values and listen to the voters of Columbia County.”
Monday is the deadline to register to vote in the July 31 primary. Early voting begins July 9.
If a runoff among the top two vote-getters is necessary, it will be held Aug. 21.
The winner will face Barrow, who recently moved to Augusta from Savannah, in the general election Nov. 6.