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House candidates square off tonight
Republican groups sponsor debate for candidates in special election
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Special election candidates share ideas at chamber

Coming Sunday
The candidates for the 49th District state Senate seat in the May 11 special election weigh in on the issues, only in Sunday’s print edition. On May 2, the 9th District U.S. House candidates do the same.

See our elections guide.

Election calendar
April 26-30: Candidate qualifying for state primary
May 11: Special election to fill open seats in state Senate, U.S. House
June 8: Special election runoff, if needed
June 21: Last day to register to vote in state primary
July 20: State primary
Aug. 10: State primary runoff, if needed
Sept. 21: Special election to fill vacancies
Oct. 4: Last day to register to vote in general election
Nov. 2: General election
Nov. 30: General election runoff, if needed

With the May 11 special election just around the corner, the Hall County Young Republicans and Teen Republicans are bringing the 9th District U.S. House candidates to the Georgia Mountain Center tonight to tell voters where they stand on top issues.

“We want to get everyone to get as acquainted with all the candidates as we possibly can,” said Kris Yardley, one of the event’s organizers. “Some of the candidates are newcomers, some have been in office for some time, but I think all of them have been inspired by what’s been going on recently in Washington. They’re people that are very concerned about their community.”

Seven candidates have qualified to run in the special election to fill the House seat recently vacated by Nathan Deal, who is running for governor.

Six are Republicans and one is an independent. No Democrats are actively campaigning.

Event organizer Mark Pettitt said with so many Republicans in the race, it’s important for voters to look beyond party affiliation when they go to the polls.

“Not all Republicans are the same and I think that’s why we do have six Republicans running. Everyone can find out who’s their kind of Republican,” Pettitt said. “It’s depending on not only what party your candidate is but what you look for even deeper in that candidate.”

“It’s going to be interesting seeing who the people identify with,” Yardley said.

Pettitt said people who attend the debate will be given a card to write a question. The moderator will select questions from the audience to ask the candidates.

Among the issues they expect to cover are water, education, health care and transportation.

“Me, specifically, I’d definitely like to hear what they’re going to talk about as far as jobs and the economy,” Yardley said. “As far as ... doing something about the tax structure and helping individuals create jobs, not what government’s doing, as we’re hearing from the current administration.”

Pettitt said the debate is an example of how young people in the community are involved and interested in politics.

“Everybody has recently gotten passionate about it with the election of President (Barack) Obama and the more liberal Congress.

Everybody is getting upset about what’s going on in Washington and we’re looking for a conservative comeback this November,” Pettitt said.

The debate begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10.

“We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to get to know their next congressman. Especially in the next few years, with expected turnover at the midterm elections, it’s going to be very important who we send up there,” Yardley said.