To help voters prepare for the May 20 primary election, the Forsyth County Tea Party is holding its first debate of the year Monday night. It will feature those seeking the Forsyth County solicitor general’s post and the District 27 state Senate seat.
"We decided to go ahead and hold the debate even though they will not be qualifying until early March," said Sheri Gilligan, party chairwoman. "The compressed schedule for this particular election cycle has caused us to make these adjustments."
While more candidates could join the races, Gilligan said the five who have done so to date have been invited to the event.
Donna Gopaul, the incumbent solicitor general, faces a challenge from attorneys Susan Zerieni and William Finch. All but Finch have confirmed they’ll attend.
District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy will be issuing a statement to be read in his absence. Opponent Michael Williams plans to be there.
The debate is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Forsyth County Administration Building, Suite 220. Candidates will have two minutes for opening and closing remarks, as well as one minute for question responses, and 30 seconds for rebuttals.
Gilligan said the party has "developed what we believe to be probing questions on taxes, education, fiscal policies, management styling … and the goals they hope to accomplish."
The party does not endorse candidates, Gilligan said. "Instead, the group wants to be a conduit for the community to voice its concerns to any and all political candidates from our districts.”