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Candidates spar over water, roads
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Forsyth County News
Candidates for Forsyth County commissioner sparred Wednesday night at the Forsyth County Republican Party debate.
Nine of 11 candidates competing for three available seats responded to questions on a variety of topics, ranging from water and relations with the city of Cumming to business growth, transportation improvements and private property rights.
Contenders also had the opportunity to direct questions at one another, which created tense moments for some. For the most part, however, the question-and-answer sessions were civil.
Each candidate was allowed two minutes to respond to queries. When they questioned each another, the candidate asking the question was allowed a one-minute rebuttal.
Ninth District Republican Chairman Kevin Harris moderated the debate, which was held in the Forsyth County commission meeting room. The session drew a crowd of about 70, including Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and state Sen. Jack Murphy.
Commissioners qualify by district, but are elected countywide.
There are five seats on the commission, three of which are up for election next month: District 2, which covers most of south Forsyth; District 4, which spans the northern width of the county; and District 5, which includes Cumming and much of eastern Forsyth.
Two incumbents are seeking re-election, Brian Tam in District 2 and David Richard in District 4. Current District 5 Commissioner Linda Ledbetter decided not to run again.
Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse, who represents District 1, and Commissioner Jim Harrell of District 3 are not up for re-election this year.
Only one commission race features a Democrat. Whichever Republican candidate wins the primary in District 4, either Bell or Richard, will advance to face Democrat Jon Flack in November. As a Democrat, Flack was not included in Wednesday's event.
The primary election is July 15. A runoff election, which could necessary given that two contests feature four candidates, would be held Aug. 5. The General Election falls on Nov. 4.
Voters will have at least two more chances to hear from commissioner candidates in the next week.
The Republican Women of Forsyth County is holding a forum for all party candidates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the cafeteria at Otwell Middle School.
On June 26, Smart Growth Forsyth at 7 p.m. in the performing arts center at South Forsyth High School.