By Preston Knight -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- The Kiwanis Club of Strasburg is hosting a candidates' forum Tuesday for all town and Shenandoah County positions on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election.
Chapter president Doug Sloan said all candidates who have opponents are scheduled to attend, and almost all incumbents who are running unopposed will be present too.
Candidates will have five minutes to speak and then take questions from the public.
"If I pull this off as a debate," Sloan said, "we'll never get out of there."
The forum will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall of Strasburg United Methodist Church, at 114 W. Washington St.
Sloan said the intent of the forum is for the club to get some exposure, as all of its efforts go back into the community. Offering the candidates a medium to spread their message is yet another form of giving back.
"It tells me that there's enough uncertainty out there that all the candidates committed to me," Sloan said.
The District 6 seat for the Board of Supervisors pits incumbent Conrad Helsley against challenger Van C. Holmes II, while a spot on Town Council features former council members Steve Nicholson and Edith Wallace as well as John M. "Red" Hall. Meanwhile, incumbents Joan Comanor and Mary Gessner face challengers Craig Orndorff and Ken Cruise in the race for two seats as directors for the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District.
The most heated race has been for commonwealth's attorney, with Strasburg attorney Amanda McDonald Wiseley facing Woodstock Mayor Jeremy McCleary, who prosecutes cases for the town. Sloan said he expects spirited discussion between the two as they make their case for the open position.
McCleary has pushed the fact that he is the only candidate with experience as a prosecutor, while Wiseley has questioned, among other things, her opponent's commitment to being prosecutor, accusing him of having higher aspirations and using the office as a steppingstone to the House of Delegates. McCleary has criticized Wiseley for what he has called untruthful, attention-grabbing news releases.
Sloan said he was spending his time Friday putting signs up around Strasburg to get people to show up on Tuesday. The forum time falls as part of the club's regular meeting schedule.
"Exactly two weeks before election," Sloan said.