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Upcoming political forums and debates

If you are undecided or just want more information about the Nov. 8 election, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know the candidates. Here is a schedule of upcoming candidate forums. (If any group has a forum planned that is not listed, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Jessi at 828.452.4251.)


Jackson County

Southwestern Community College will hold a series of political forums beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, with Jackson County Board of Commissioner candidates — Democrat incumbents Vicki Greene and Mark Jones and Republican challengers Ron Mau and Mickey Luker.

Candidates for N.C. Senate — Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and challenger Jane Hipps, D-Waynesville — will debate at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11. N.C. House candidates Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, will debate at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.

All debates will take place in the Burrell Building Conference Center.

Western Carolina University’s Public Policy Institute and Department of Political Science and Public Affairs will sponsor a series of candidate debates in the next two months. 

Candidates in the N.C. House of Representatives District 119 race — incumbent Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and challenger Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City — will debate at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12. 

Candidates for the N.C. Senate District 50 seat — incumbent Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and opponent Jane Hipps, D-Waynesville, will debate at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27.

All three debates will be held in Room 204 of the Health and Human Sciences Building on WCU’s West Campus. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.


Macon County

The Macon County League of Women Voters is holding a forum for Macon County commissioner candidates at noon Thursday, Oct. 20, at Tartan Hall in Franklin. 

Democrat candidates Bobby Kuppers and Charlie Leatherman and Republican challengers Karl Gillespie and Paul Higdon will all be attending. 


Haywood County

The Mountaineer will be holding a forum featuring candidates for state legislature and Haywood County commissioner on Thursday, Sept. 29, and a forum for district judge and school board candidates on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Both forums will be held in the Haywood Historic Courthouse in downtown Waynesville. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the event will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m.

Smoky Mountain News will host a candidate forum for Haywood County Commission candidates and state legislature candidates on Thursday, Oct. 20, at The Folkmoot Friendship Center in Historic Hazelwood. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a meet and greet with all the candidates and tours of the Folkmoot Center. The forum begins at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. 



A Jackson County commissioner candidate forum will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 and Swain County commissioner candidates will speak at 8 p.m. at the Chief Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center at Cherokee Middle School, 150 Ravensford Drive, Cherokee.

A second forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, to give residents a chance to question their state-level candidates running for the Senate District 50 and House District 119 seats. 

Questions originating from members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee will be given first priority and as time permits questions from the general public will be presented. 

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