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ASHLAND CITY, TN--More than 20 Cheatham County candidates in local races and state legislative primaries have been invited to participate in the second biannual All-Candidate Forum to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 19, in the Ashland City Senior Center, 104 Ruth Drive, in the midst of downtown Ashland City. Early acceptances indicate that at least 20 contestants, and probably more, will appear, speak, and respond to questions at this non-partisan event covering contested races for Cheatham County Mayor and other county executive offices, all 12 seats on the County Commission and three School Board positions, plus the unopposed Democratic and Republican candidates for the State Senate and House of Representatives.

All these races are on the ballot for the August 2 election in Cheatham County, for which early voting begins on Friday, July 13, and ends on Saturday, July 28. (There are also municipal elections in Ashland City and Pegram.) The general election for federal and state offices will be held on Tuesday, November 6, with early voting commencing two weeks before. It is now too late to register for the August 2 election, but you can still register for the voting in November.

Among the contests of particular interest on the August 2 ballot is a three-way fight for County Mayor including incumbent Kerry McCarver and challengers Dan Henderson and Pam Jones. McCarver has held the office since being appointed by the County Commission last year to succeed the late David McCullough. There is also a four-way contest involving an incumbent for County Commissioner in District 1 (incumbent Gary Allen Binkley, challengers Calton Russell Blacker, David Anderson, and Janet Knight), and a bunch of three-way races including one or two incumbents: Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. All three or four candidates in each commission district run against each other, and the top two vote-getters are the winners.

On the other hand, no incumbents are on the ballot in Commission District 6 (Kingston Springs area), where Aram K. Gupta, CPA, Ed Greer, and Randy Liles are in a toss-up for the two open seats. This and the other county and town-level races are non-partisan, the candidates are running as independents, and the results are final.

In addition, the forum appearances of State House District 78 candidates John E. Patrick (Democrat) and incumbent Mary Littleton (Republican), and of State Senate District 25 contenders Kerry Roberts (Republican incumbent) and Wade Munday (Democrat), should be equally interesting (if confirmed), even though nominally their races are primaries. These legislative contenders were included even though they have no primary opposition, according to the Cheatham County Democrats, organizers of the forum, because like the other invitees they have difficulty generating media attention or reaching large groups of voters due to the rural nature of their districts.

"That is the main reason we work so hard to hold this forum in election years," said county Democratic chair Michael Lottman. "There are terrific candidates for many of these local offices, but because of how far apart we are and the kind of media we have--excellent, a service to the community, but not much involved in politics per se--it is difficult for these men and women to communicate their plans and policies in much if any detail. Similarly, voters sometimes have trouble distinguishing one candidate from another especially when voter is new to the area or the candidates are political newcomers. This forum is only a one-night affair, but we hope it has ripples through the community and helps the voters to make an informed judgment when they get to the polls."

Ample parking will be available at the senior center, which is located just off North Main Street and between the county jail and the hospital. There is no fee for admission or participation in the forum and in fact there will be a good variety of food and beverages on hand (so prompt arrival is recommended). Anyone requiring additional information should contact Michael Lottman, Cheatham County Chair, at, or call (615) 714-2702.

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