WKRK, along with the Cherokee Scout and Andrews Journal, invited all candidates running for office in Cherokee County to debate with their opponent(s) so that voters could learn more about each candidate to aid in making a more informed vote in the May 8th Republican Primary. There is no Democratic Primary this year in Cherokee County. Since there is little Democratic opposition this year, most of the winners in the May 8th Republican Primary will move on to become the elected officials as they may have no opponent in November. It's just the way things lined up this year.
Invitations were sent to each candidate to the registered address on file with the Board of Elections.
We understand that people are busy with various schedules, but we were disappointed that many candidates chose not to participate in debates at all. Legally, for us to conduct a debate, at least 2 people in each race must participate so that we are able maintain a fair and balanced setting. Debates are the only free airtime that WKRK provides to candidates because of that balance. All other political messages are paid, political messages with proper disclaimers noting such.
Many of the candidates were simply unavailable and had no interest in rescheduling, and that is their right to choose. We in no way wish to disrespect that right. However, this means that their opponent was unable to participate in the debate.
In regards to transparency and fairness to those candidates who wanted to debate and weren't able to, we will list all the races we had scheduled and each's candidate's availability. This is not to make any candidate look bad or suggest that they were uncooperative. We have a great relationship with all of these folks. Again, candidates have busy schedules and we could have done a better job by providing invitations with more notice.
Some of the reasons given for being unavailable include:
We are not going to single out each candidate's response to try to influence public opinion. That would be improper.
Below is the proposed recording sessions we had lined up:
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11
3 PM - Cherokee County Board of Education District 2 (1 seat open)
- Jeannie Gaddis - UNAVAILABLE
- Jeff Martin - UNAVAILABLE
4 PM - Cherokee County Board of Education District 3 (2 seats open)
- Paul Brown - PARTICIPATED
- Mark Patterson - PARTICIAPTED
- Joe Wood - PARTICIPATED
5 PM - Cherokee County Board of Education At-large (1 seat open)
- Keesha Curtis - PARTICIPATED
- Tylor Dockery - PARTICIPATED
THURSDAY, APRIL 12
3 PM - Cherokee County Board of Commissioners District 1
- Cal Stiles - UNAVAILABLE
- Tim West - UNAVAILABLE
4 PM - Cherokee County Board of Commissioners District 3
- Corey Bailey - AVAILABLE
- Hippie Westmoreland - UNAVAILABLE
FRIDAY, APRIL 13
3 PM - Cherokee County Sheriff
- Derrick Palmer - UNAVAILABLE
- Dan Sherrill - AVAILABLE
4 PM - Cherokee County Board of Commissioners District 4
- Winfield Clonts - AVAILABLE
- Dan Eichenbaum - UNAVAILABLE
We very much appreciate the candidates in the Cherokee County Board of Education At-Large and District 3 seats for taking time out of their busy schedules to allow us to get to know them better and how they stand on certain issues. Those debate videos are posted below. Thanks for watching!
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