The Lincoln County News and Lincoln County Television are hosting a series of candidates forums for local legislative districts, as well as for Lincoln County judge of probate.
LCN Editor J.W. Oliver is moderating the forums, which are being filmed at the LCTV studio in Newcastle throughout the month of September.
Each forum will focus on one race, unlike those in years past, which featured candidates for several positions.
The LCN and LCTV chose the new format after consideration of various options to continue the traditional candidates forums, including live events with physical distancing and recorded forums with larger groups of candidates. The organizers hope the one-on-one forums will allow viewers to focus on the races most relevant to them and facilitate closer attention to each race.
“The intent of these forums is to allow viewers to hear directly from candidates about their ideas, positions, and experience,” Oliver said. “We thank the candidates for their participation, which shows a commitment to civil and respectful dialogue and to transparency in politics.”
“For the first time I can recall, three candidates have declined to participate in the forums — one Democrat and two Republicans,” Oliver said. “In each case, we urged them to reconsider. We then offered the other candidate in each of those races the option to forgo a forum or participate in a one-on-one conversation with the moderator.”
The half-hour forums will air nightly on LCTV beginning Monday, Sept. 28. After each forum airs, it will be available to stream on lctv.org.
Monday, Sept. 28
The forum airing Sept. 28 will feature Holly J.P. Kopp, R-Topsham, and Sen. Eloise A. Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, the candidates for Maine Senate District 23. The district consists of Dresden and Sagadahoc County.
Tuesday, Sept. 29
The Sept. 29 forum will feature Rep. Jeffery P. Hanley, R-Pittston, and Tim I. Marks, D-Pittston, the candidates for Maine House District 87. The district consists of Alna, Pittston, Randolph, and Wiscasset.
Wednesday, Sept. 30
The forum airing Sept. 30 will feature Stephanie Hawke, R-Boothbay Harbor, and Rep. Holly B. Stover, D-Boothbay, the candidates for Maine House District 89. The district consists of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb, part of South Bristol, Southport, and Westport Island.
Thursday, Oct. 1
The Oct. 1 forum will feature Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship, candidate for Maine House District 91. The district includes Friendship, part of Union, Waldoboro, and Washington. The challenger, Lowell B. Wallace, R-Waldoboro, declined to participate.
Friday, Oct. 2
The forum airing Oct. 2 will feature Christopher C. Hamilton, D-Whitefield, and Michael H. Lemelin, R-Chelsea, the candidates for Maine House District 88. The district consists of Chelsea, Jefferson, part of Nobleboro, and Whitefield.
Monday, Oct. 5
The Oct. 5 forum will feature Rep. Allison Hepler, D-Woolwich, and Jeffrey K. Pierce, R-Dresden, the candidates for Maine House District 53. The district consists of Arrowsic, Dresden, Georgetown, Phippsburg, part of Richmond, and Woolwich.
Tuesday, Oct. 6
The forum airing Oct. 6 will feature William M. Avantaggio, D-Bremen, and Meegan J. Burbank, I-Jefferson, the candidates for Lincoln County judge of probate.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
The Oct. 7 forum will feature Lydia V. Crafts, D-Newcastle, a candidate for Maine House District 90. The district consists of Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Monhegan, Newcastle, part of Nobleboro, and part of South Bristol.
The other candidate for the District 90 seat, Merle J. Parise II, R-Newcastle, declined to participate.
Thursday, Oct. 8
The forum airing Oct. 8 will feature Sen. Dana L. Dow, R-Waldoboro, and Rep. Chloe S. Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, the candidates for Maine Senate District 13. The district consists of Lincoln County except Dresden, as well as Washington and Windsor.
The Senate District 13 forum will be one hour long.
House District 80
There will be no candidates forum for House District 80: part of Augusta, Somerville, Vassalboro, and Windsor.
Rep. Richard T. “Dick” Bradstreet, R-Vassalboro, agreed to participate, but challenger Greg R. Hallee, D-Vassalboro, declined. After Hallee declined, Bradstreet opted to forgo a single-candidate forum.