Columbia County’s Republican voters likely represent the key to winning the party’s nomination for the redrawn District 12 U.S. Congressional seat.
For that reason, the four candidates hoping to take on Democratic incumbent John Barrow in November eagerly anticipate their first head-to-head forum in front of Columbia County voters.
The candidates will face off in a debate set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center in the Columbia County Library in Evans, sponsored by the Greater Columbia County Republican Women and the Columbia County Republican Party.
Moderating the event will be Phil Kent, an Atlanta political consultant and former editorial page editor of The Augusta Chronicle.
All four candidates have confirmed their participation in the debate:
• Rick Allen, a commercial builder and resident of Augusta;
• Lee Anderson, a Grovetown farmer who currently serves in the state Legislature;
• Wright McLeod, an Augusta attorney; and,
• Maria Sheffield, a Dublin, Ga., attorney.
The event takes place on the home turf of Anderson, who lives in Columbia County, and Allen, who grew up in the county.
“I look forward to sharing with voters at the June 30th debate why I am the best person to send to Congress to plow it under,” Anderson said, while Allen added “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share (my) message with voters in Columbia County, where I was born, educated and raised.”
Meanwhile, McLeod – whose law practice includes an office just down the street from the venue – said “I’m looking forward to the debate in Columbia County, because it gives voters an opportunity to ask questions that matter to them.”
Similarly, Sheffield said “I welcome this chance to talk about my conservative values and listen to the voters of Columbia County.”
Monday is the deadline to register to vote in the July 31 primary. Early voting at the Columbia County Board of Elections office begins July 9.
The primary will be held July 31, and if a runoff among the top two vote-getters is necessary, it will be held Aug. 21.
The winner will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who recently moved to Augusta from Savannah, in the general election on
Statements from the candidates:
Maria Sheffield: “I am excited to be in Columbia County on June 30 for the debate. My campaign is based on offering commonsense conservative positive policy solutions to the issues facing America. I can’t think a more important aspect of a campaign than to stand before voters and debate those issues which impact our small business owners, farmers, veterans, and families. It is always great to be in Evans and I welcome this chance to talk about my conservative values and listen to the voters of Columbia County.”
Wright McLeod: “I’m looking forward to the debate in Columbia County, because it gives voters an opportunity to ask questions that matter to them. This will allow them to compare and contrast the candidates who best will represent them in Congress.”
Lee Anderson: “For the past few months, I’ve been traveling across the new 12th District to listen to people, get ideas and offer solutions to the issues we face, so we can get America growing again. What I keep hearing is outrage that Washington is ignoring us and is failing to address our nation’s most pressing issues. And I keep hearing that it’s time for Washington to get back to the basics and do what every family and small business is forced to do: balance the checkbook.
“After decades of deficit spending, it’s time to make balancing our budgets the rule – not the exception. It’s time to end the spending spree and make common sense decisions that shrink our budget and get back to the fiscally responsible government that the American people expect and demand.
“I look forward to sharing with voters at the June 30th debate why I am the best person to send to Congress to plow it under. We need to incentivize growth and end economic uncertainty. We need to cut unneeded and outdated government programs, stop all the stimuluses and bailouts and finally deal with our runaway federal budget. And we need to release small business from job-killing regulations and create a tax code that makes
Rick Allen: “We’ve met thousands of folks over the last few months who share my desire to send a businessman to Washington to solve our economic problems instead of a career politician like John Barrow. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to share this message with voters in Columbia County, where I was born, educated and