As we announced last week, The Georgia Republican Party will hold the third debate of candidates vying for the Republican nomination to the open U.S. Senate seat for Georgia in Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium. Already there are a number of questions, which we’ll answer here and in later posts as they occur:
Q. When is it?
A. Saturday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Q. When people call for tickets to the debate, what should we do?
A. Direct them to the Hall County Republican Party at 470-208-2061. This is not a Brenau-hosted event, so the university has no responsibility for providing tickets.
Q. Why are we providing space for a partisan political activity?
A. The university provides space for a wide variety of community organizations and activities, usually for a fee that includes costs associated with the event. The Georgia Republican Party created a series of seven debates around the state for U.S. Senate candidates leading up to the May primary. The party asked if it could hold the Gainesville debate on campus, and the university agreed as part of its general service of providing venues for events and programs that are of interest to the community at reasonable rates. The presence of the activities on campus does not imply any endorsement of the party or participating candidates.
Q. How many people are likely to attend on a Saturday night?
A. All the debates in the series are on Saturdays. At the first debate in Adel, Ga., more than 700 showed up. The second debate, held on Feb. 1 at Kennesaw State University, had more than 600 attending, but The Marietta Daily Journal reported that another 300 were turned away because there wasn’t enough room.
Q. Can Brenau faculty, staff and students attend?
A. Yes. You just have to get tickets through normal channels.
Q. Will there be an overflow venue?
A. Possibly the Downtown Center, but that has not been determined.
Q. Will the debate be broadcast on television and radio?
A. That is under discussion as well, but we plan on at least broadcasting live on Brenau’s radio station, 89.1 WBCX-FM. Also, media will be invited, but we have no way of knowing how various entities will cover the debate.
Q. Why did we pick a date when there is a play and other activities on campus?
A. We didn’t pick the date. The party announced the debate schedule weeks ago based on candidate availability and the short time leading up to the May primary. There was no flexibility on the date. We would have preferred to have had it at a time other than the first Saturday of spring break so more students would have been on campus. There will be some competition for available parking spaces, but the Hall County GOP assures us there will be plenty of volunteers to help direct people to open spots.
Q. Will we have a debate leading up to the general election that features the Republican and Democratic nominees?
A. We’d love to.