Note: This story was last updated at 9:10 a.m.
There was little opposition and only a few questions at a Tuesday night candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge.
All of the Democratic candidates were at the League forum, which was held in the Pollard Auditorium at Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
But most of the Republican candidates were a few blocks away at their own forum, and none of them attended the League forum. Still, many sent representatives to speak on their behalf.
The dueling forums were held with less than a month remaining before the May 6 primary election. Most of the competition is on the Republican side, with more than one GOP candidate for mayor, sheriff, chancellor, and Juvenile Court judge. The only contested Democratic race is for juvenile judge.
Jo Ann Garrett moderated the League of Women Voters forum, and all candidates with opposition in either the primary or general elections were allowed opening statements. Those candidates who are unopposed were introduced, and those with opposition in the primary election were allowed both opening statements and to answer questions.
Juvenile Court Judge candidates J. Michael Clement and David R. Dunkirk, who are both Democrats, were asked two questions after their opening statements were read, and one was more of an explanation of the differences between cases assigned to the chancellor and those in the Juvenile Court.
In response to a question about their support of Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, both candidates said they believed deeply in the organizations.
Clement said he “worked hand in hand” with CASA and he “was practicing in juvenile court when both organizations came to be in Anderson County.“ He also mentioned that he attended a fundraiser for CASA volunteers.
Dunkirk stated that he is a VORP mediator and claimed that the majority of children who go through VORP mediation do not become repeat offenders.
Jim Hackworth, a former state representative and Democratic candidate for Anderson county mayor, was asked if he supports a living wage. He said that with the right jobs, the county will create a living wage in the community.
The League said it had invited all candidates in the elections by mail, but the debate was largely Democratic and there weren’t many opposing views presented. Most candidates and their representatives made statements presenting their experience and personal and professional histories in Anderson County.
Early voting for the primaries will begin April 16, and it will continue through May 1 with sites at the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge, Clinton’s Community Center, and the County Government Satellite Office in Andersonville. Voting hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
The county general election is Aug. 7.
Sara Wise is a freelance contributor to Oak Ridge Today.
See the 2014 Election section for more information on all the candidates and races.