Local candidates will have the opportunity to speak to the voters during forums set for the next two weeks in various locations in southern Kennebec County.

The forums in Augusta, Gardiner and Hallowell are designed to allow the candidates to share their vision and answer questions from potential voters.

In a countywide race, the University of Maine at Augusta is hosting a debate Oct. 24 between the two Kennebec County Sheriff candidates, incumbent Ryan Reardon and challenger Ken Mason. The election will decide who completes the remaining term of former Sheriff Randall Liberty, who resigned last year to become the warden at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Reardon, a Democrat, was chief deputy under Liberty for two years and was appointed interim sheriff after a battle between the Kennebec County Democratic Committee and Gov. Paul LePage over who should fill Liberty’s position. Mason, the chief deputy at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, originally submitted his name to the committee for consideration.

The committee sent only Reardon’s name to the governor’s office, starting a standoff between LePage and the committee. Mason ultimately decided to withdraw his name from consideration and instead seek the position in November, running as an independent.

The hourlong debate, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6 p.m. at Jewett Auditorium on the UMA campus. Assistant professor of justice studies Sharon McMahon Sawyer will be the moderator.

Each campaign has submitted an equal number of questions, Sawyer has generated some of her own questions, and some questions were submitted by UMA students. A university spokesman said some questions will be taken from the audience.

Next week in Hallowell, Mayor Mark Walker will moderate a candidate forum at 6 p.m. Monday in the City Hall Auditorium. There is one contested race for the City Council and three candidates are running unopposed. The incumbent on the Regional School Unit 2 board is also unopposed. Walker said the three candidates for Senate District 14 — Democrat Shenna Bellows, Republican Bryan Cutchen and independent Joseph Pietroski — plan to attend.

In Augusta, a forum for the candidates for City Council and the school board is set for 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Lithgow Public Library. There are two contested council races and one contested school board race. All candidates have been invited to the forum, which is free and open to the public.

The Gardiner Library Association will hold two forums next week — one for legislative candidates and one for local candidates — at the Gardiner City Council chamber at 6 Church St.

The candidates running to represent Gardiner, Farmingdale, Litchfield, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner in Senate districts 14 and 22 and House districts 82, 83, 84 and 87 have been invited to the forum at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The candidates for the three at-large City Council seats, as well as Mayor Thom Harnett, who is running unopposed, have been invited to a forum starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Both forums will be moderated by Blueberry Broadcasting’s Michael Estrada and will be livestreamed at gardinermaine.com.

Election Day is Nov. 8. The opening time of polls ranges from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., depending on the size of the municipality, and they will close at 8 p.m. statewide.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


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