Forums give voters a peek at diverse slate

by John Kanelis, February 18, 2014

Early voting has commenced for the March 4 primary elections.

For its part, Panhandle PBS has fulfilled a key role in educating voters on the choices they're going to make. The public television station played host to a series of candidate forums that aired initially this past Thursday and Sunday.

You can see them on the link attached here:

http://panhandlepbs.org/news/election-2014

The forums featured Republican candidates for the 13th Congressional District, Texas Senate District 31 and Potter County judge. The primary that concludes with the end of voting March 4 will effectively elect whoever will serve in District 31 and Potter County judge; the 13th Congressional District will be decided this fall when the Republican nominee faces a Democratic candidate.

The forums revealed a tremendous philosophical difference among all the candidates competing in all the contests.

The 13th Congressional District forum showcased incumbent Mac Thornberry and challengers Elaine Hays and Pam Barlow. They all have different approaches to how to best represent the sprawling congressional district that runs from the Panhandle all the way to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The Senate District 31 forum highlighted stark differences between incumbent Kel Seliger and challenge Mike Canon. Seliger hails from Amarillo, Canon is from Midland. Some have called this a North vs. South election, pitting two former mayors from both ends of a similarly vast district.

The county judge forum featured the largest field of all, with five candidates vying to replace retiring County Judge Arthur Ware. The five are: Nancy Tanner, Debra McCartt, Bill Bandy, Bill Sumerford and Jeff Poindexter. They, too, represent dramatically different approaches to county governance.

The forums featured sharp answers to often probing questions from a panel of journalists. Take a look and listen here.

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But if you want to watch it on your TV screen, you can do so when the forums are re-broadcast in their entirety on Thursday, Feb. 27, starting at 8 p.m. on Panhandle PBS. The congressional and state Senate forums will air in the first hour; the county judge forum will be broadcast in the second hour, from 9 to 10 p.m.

Above all, whether you choose to do so early or wait until primary election day on March 4, be sure to vote.

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