Political opportunities abound to meet candidates

The political season is in full swing with a slew of campaign forums and meet-and-greets taking place.

The biggest event will feature candidates running for U.S. Congress from 7 to 9 p.m. April 4 in Haywood Community College’s Charles Beall Auditorium. Eight Republicans hoping to take U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler’s seat in Congress have committed to the forum.

Of the three Democratic candidates, Cecil Bothwell and Thomas Hill both have said they will attend. Presumed front-runner for the Democratic ticket, Shuler’s chief of staff Hayden Rogers, has not said he will attend.

Mountaineer Publishing is spearheading the forum. The forum will be videotaped and broadcast multiple times on the government access channel in Haywood County. Those with specific topics or issues they would like considered as candidate questions are asked to email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here are other opportunities to meet candidates:

• At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, come to Nutmeg Bakery in Maggie Valley to meet three Republican candidates running against each other in the primary for the state House of Representatives. Michele Presnell, Ben Keilman and Jesse Sigmon are squaring off in the Republican primary for N.C. House seat 118. The winner will go on to face Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Mars Hill, in the general election. Other Republican candidates who will be there include Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and N.C. House 119 candidate Mike Clampitt of Bryson City.

• Joe Sam Queen, a Democratic candidate for N.C. House 119, will host a Bluegrass Brunch with waffles and all the fixins’ from 9 am until noon on Saturday, March 31, at The Banquet Hall behind Dominos in Sylva. Music will be provided by The Smoky Mountain Highlanders. 828.452.1688 or joesamqueen.com. A meet-and-greet with Queen will also be held from 5 until 6:30 pm on  Thursday, March 29, at the Lake Junaluska Golf Course Clubhouse.

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