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City council candidates split into two groups during Oct. 15 forum

A Salisbury City Council candidate forum on Oct. 15 will largely resemble the format of the Republican presidential field’s first major debate.

The large field of 16 city council candidates will be split into two groups during the forum, according to an email from Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding. The first group would begin its forum at 6 p.m. The second would start at 7:30 p.m.  All 16 council candidates have confirmed participation in the Oct. 15 forum, which is sponsored by Catawba College, the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce and the Salisbury Post

In the U.S. presidential race, candidates were divided into two debate groups based on standings in polls.

Two groups means two forums, according to Spalding’s email. Without polls to judge the popularity of candidates, the Oct. 15 forum will be determined by pulling names out of a hat.

The two forum groups will be determined on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 3:45 p.m. in Salisbury City Hall, just before the regularly scheduled city council meeting. Catawba College Politics Professor and Provost Michael Bitzer, who will act as the forum moderator, also bears the responsibility of coordinating the two forum groups. Bitzer will place all candidates’ names in a hat before the council meeting and pull out names individually until both forums are full.

During each forum, candidates will be further divided into groups of four. Each candidate gets two minutes — a total of 16 minutes during each forum — for an introduction. Bitzer will then alternate asking a single question to each group of four candidates. The candidate groups will be asked three questions each. Each question is allotted a total of eight minutes — two minutes for each response. Each of the first forum candidates will then have two minutes for a closing statement.

The schedule projects the first forum to wrap up by 7:20 p.m., according to Spalding’s email.

A 10-minute break will separate the first and second forum.

The second forum will follow an identical format to the first, with the entire event scheduled to wrap up just before 9 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Candidates for Salisbury City Council include: Karen Alexander, incumbent; Maggie Blackwell, incumbent; Brian Miller, incumbent; Stephen Arthur; Roy Bentley; Ken Hardin; Constance Johnson; Rip Kersey; Mark Lewis; Scott Maddox; Todd Paris; David Post; William Peoples; Troy Russell; Tamara Sheffield; and Jeff Watkins.

Early voting begins on Oct. 22. Election day is Nov. 3.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246




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