Gubernatorial forum is Thursday

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidates will meet Thursday night in Kenbridge to discuss the issues and answer questions submitted by the community.

Republican candidates Corey Stewart, state Sen. Frank Wagner and Ed Gillespie remain in the running for the the Republican nominee for governor.

Stewart and Wagner will be at the Kenbridge Community Center inside Kenbridge Town Hall for the forum from 6:30-9 p.m.

Organizers say Gillespie will attempt to make an appearance, but is doubtful he will be able to, citing conflicting obligations.

Republican Denver Riggleman withdrew from the race after falling behind in the polls, according to Mike Hankins, chairman of the Lunenburg Republican Party, who’s helped organize the event.

“I was having a conversation with a unit chairman in Brunswick County, Will Rogers, in January,” Hankins said, “and he suggested we get some of the candidates to come to a rural location.”

Hankins said “most of the time it’s the big cities; they recently had one in Lynchburg … Charlottesville, Richmond, that kind of place, but they don’t tend to generate toward smaller counties because we don’t have the population to draw something like this.”

Hankins said he realized the best way to get the forum to happen was to work

together with other counties.

Hankins said he got in touch with other Republican Party units in Mecklenburg, Charlotte, Nottoway and Amelia counties to organize the forum in Kenbridge.

Hankins said organizers have collected about 70 questions from the community, which was narrowed down to about 40 questions that will be asked of each participating candidate.

Craig Johnson, a radio host from Richmond, is set to be the moderator for the forum.

Questions will be asked from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event is scheduled until 9 p.m. or later, as candidates will have the opportunity to set up tables, distribute information about their campaign and talk and answer more questions with members of the community, Hankins said.

“We wanted to do this to give the people in rural southside Virginia a chance to ask questions of governor candidates before the primary came around to try to educate the public and get some questions answered,” said Hankins.

The event is free and open to the public. The Kenbridge Community Center seats 305 people, so seating is first come, first serve, Hankins said, adding standing room and room on the balcony will be available as well.

The election is in November. A primary will be held prior to that.