Chamber’s candidate forum makes changes to boost attendance


The Walterboro-Colleton Chamber of Commerce has adjusted its upcoming public candidate forum to encourage more Colleton County residents to attend, ahead of the June primary.

The forum is free and open to the public. It is taking place on May 17th at the Colleton County Memorial Library in Walterboro. The Democratic candidates will speak from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. and the Republican candidates will speak from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

The dual format will be a town hall concept, according to Mark Wysong, president of the Walterboro-Colleton Chamber of Commerce.

“The democratic candidates are going in a round-robin style,” said Wysong, adding that there are three democratic candidates attending the debate and four republican candidates who are attending. “The republican candidates are doing a block format, where each candidate gets their own questions,” he said.  Attending the forum are candidates who are contested within their own partisan party and who are running for the Colleton County Council elections.

There are three seats up for grabs on county council, and one of these partisan seats have multiple candidates who face off in a June primary to determine the final candidates on the November ballot.  

At the chamber’s forum, contested candidates will be asked questions from a list of prepared questions that is being submitted to the chamber by several different groups, including leaders within the chamber, the Colleton County Democratic Party and the Colleton County Republican Party.

Each candidate will have two minutes to answer each question.

“The questions were created by the Chamber of Commerce and both parties in a bipartisan effort to create uniformed town hall approach designed to educate the electorate on issues that are most relevant to the citizens of Colleton County,” said Wysong.

The event has been streamlined from its original schedule to have as many members of the public attend the entire event, he said. “We want as many people as possible to come and watch all of the candidates speak,” he said.

According to Wysong, the chamber will also host a second candidate debate in October. This second debate will occur prior to the November election, giving partisan candidates the chance to address “current issues pertaining to the county,” he said.

Those Colleton County Council candidate who are attending the forum are: Maryann Blake (Democrat for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council); Hiram EM Davis (Democrat for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council); David Gar Linder (Democrat for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council); Terri Tomedolskey (Republican for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council); Bubba Trippe (Republican for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council); Josh Westbury (Republican for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council);  Kevin Williams (Republican for the At-Large Seat on Colleton County Council).

The candidates for the Colleton County Council elections are:

At-Large Seat, Colleton County Council:

Maryann Blake (Democrat)

Hiram EM Davis (Democrat)   

David Gar Linder (Democrat)

Terri Tomedolskey (Republican)

Bubba Trippe (Republican)

Josh Westbury (Republican)

Kevin Williams (Republican)

District 23, Colleton County Council

Scott Biering (Republican)

Art Williams (Democrat)

District 45, Colleton County Council

Steven D. Murdaugh (Republican)


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