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GOP debate series starts with Forsyth commission hopefuls

SOUTH FORSYTH — Voters will have a chance to hear from some local Republican candidates as part of a series of debates this month leading up to the May 24 primary.

Organized by the Forsyth County Republican Party, the series will begin at 6 p.m. Monday with the candidates for the District 4 post on the county commission, incumbent Cindy Jones Mills and Kelli Warren.

That will be followed at 7:30 p.m. by a debate featuring the District 5 commission hopefuls, Chandon Adams, Justin Hawkins and Laura Semanson. Incumbent Jim Boff is not seeking a third term.

Both debates will be held at the county administration building in downtown Cumming.

They will each last about an hour and be moderated by Joel Natt, a Republican appointee on the county elections board.

Jason Mock, who chairs the local party, said the series will give voters a chance to make informed decisions.

“I think for any voter that is trying to find out about the candidates, this is a great opportunity,” he said.

Mock added that the times were chosen to accommodate the candidates’ schedules.

Debates for the Board of Education seats will be held on April 25, with Brad Wilkins, former chair of the Forsyth GOP, as host.

The District 3 debate between Tom Cleveland, incumbent, and Steve Mashburn will start at 6 p.m., with the District 5 talk following at 7:30 p.m. That race features Nancy Roche, incumbent, and Kevin Foley and Michael Tasos.

The debate series will conclude April 27. Candidates for coroner, Lauren McDonald III and Stan Rutledge, will debate at 5:30 p.m., and those for sheriff, incumbent Duane Piper and Ron Freeman, will be featured at 7 p.m.

Incumbent coroner Mary Beth Pais is not seeking re-election.

The moderator for the April 27 debates will be B.J. Van Gundy, a Gwinnett County resident who Mock said is involved in the 7th Congressional District that includes south Forsyth.

The final day to register for the primary is April 26, and advance voting will begin on May 2.