Union's mayoral hopefuls will have six minutes to demonstrate their understanding of the issues during a candidates' forum Thursday night.
The forum, scheduled for 7-9 p.m. in the USC-Union auditorium, is being organized by Karl and Katherine Pendergrass in cooperation with USC-Union Dean Dr. Hugh Rowland and businesswoman Angela Vassey. Mrs. Pendergrass said a dozen questions have been selected for the candidates. They will be written on slips of paper and placed in a basket which will be passed around to the candidates. Each candidate will draw one question from the basket and have a maximum of three minutes to answer.
The questions will then be returned to the basket, which will be passed around once more. If a candidate draws the same question they had in the first round, they will be allowed to pick another one out of the basket.
“This will be an opportunity for the people of Union to come see and hear the candidates,” Mrs. Pendergrass said. “The forum's goal is to help the people of Union make an informed decision on who should be the next mayor.”
Only two rounds of questions will take place. Mrs. Pendergrass said this format was chosen because the number of candidates running would make it too time-consuming for each one to answer the same question.
The mayor's race is unusual in that none of the candidates will actually be on the November ballot. The slot for mayor is blank due to the resignation of Mayor Bruce Morgan who was unopposed for re-election. Morgan resigned in July before being indicted on corruption charges. State law would not permit filing to be reopened, forcing the candidates to run as write-ins.
Seeking the office are Interim Mayor Harold Thompson; Chamber of Commerce Director Torance Inman; businessman Don Shetley; and political newcomers Hutch Hall, Melvin Young Jr., Zari Rice, Dr. John Flood and David “Tubo” Owens. A ninth candidate, Tim Bowers, dropped out of the race because he's moved out of town, Mrs. Pendergrass said.