Political group to hold candidates forum

A group connected with Shenandoah County Republicans plans to hold its own forum for candidates in local races.

The Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives scheduled its event for 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Denny’s restaurant in Mount Jackson. The event is open to the public.

The forum will be held for candidates running for commonwealth’s attorney as well as District 2 and 3 on the Board of Supervisors. Suzanne Curran, activities coordinator for the group, said Thursday candidates will have 10 minutes to provide information about themelves and why they are seeking the offices. Then each candidate will spend 10 minutes taking questions from the audience without his or her opponent in the room.

“Rather than trying to rebut or debate their opinion, we want their opinion, why they’re running and what their goals are for the office,” Curran said. “Nobody knows in advance what’s going to be asked. They have to be quick on their feet and that’s part of their job.”

Chad Logan, assistant prosecutor for Rockingham County, has confirmed he plans to attend. Logan is the former chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee. Logan is challenging Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley for her office. Wiseley also has confirmed plans to attend. Wiseley is running as an independent candidate.

District 3 Supervisor David Ferguson declined the invitation, Curran said. Ferguson is seeking re-election to the board seat as the Republican Party candidate. Ferguson’s challenger, Richard Walker, confirmed that he plans to attend. Walker is running as an independent.

District 2 Supervisor Steve Baker had not responded to the invitation as of Thursday afternoon, Curran said. Baker is running as the Republican Party candidate. Baker’s challenger, Michael Wakeman, confirmed plans to attend. Wakeman is running as an independent.

Earlier this week, several organizations held two forums for candidates seeking seats on the Board of Supervisors and the School Board. Wakeman did not to participate in the first forum, held Monday for the District 2 races, citing concerns about the partisan leanings of at least one of the organizations involved in putting on the events.

The Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, the Shenandoah County Education Association, the Shenandoah Forum, the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the Farm Bureau of Shenandoah County organized the series of forums that continue through next week.

The Constitutional Conservatives do not plan to hold a forum for candidates seeking the District 6 seat on the Board of Supervisors because of time constraints, Curran said. S. John Massoud is running as the Republican Party candidate in an attempt to unseat incumbent Supervisor Conrad Helsley. Helsley is running as an independent candidate. Strasburg Town Councilman Robert B. “Bob” Baker and former Councilwoman Sarah Mauck also are running for the seat as independent candidates.

Massoud serves as webmaster for the Constitutional Conservatives website. Curran also serves as vice chairwoman of the Republican Party of Virginia’s western district. Curran said that the Republican Party has been reaching out to people aligned with tea parties. Curran explained that the Constitutional Conservatives are not a tea party group nor is it actually a party.

The Constitutional Conservatives held a forum earlier for candidates seeking seats on the School Board.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com