Nearly two dozen candidates running in key contested offices said they will participate in a public forum on Monday to meet potential voters, spell out platform ideas and explain why they have thrown their hats in the political quagmire.

Candidates running for a number of local and state offices have been invited to participate in the forum on Monday at the Aiken Municipal Center, 214 Park Ave.

The public event is open to all candidates who would like to meet and greet potential voters, and will be televised live on ASTV channel 95 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Candidates will each be given a minute to provide an opening statement, asked a number of questions and then given a minute to make a closing statement.

Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young and Councilman Scott Singer have been asked to give a statement about the referendum that is calling for a change in the form of government to a Council-Manager form, which would give County Council the option to make appointments for the offices of auditor and treasurer, which would report directly to the County Manager.

Young said he is opposed to the referendum, adding that the treasurer and auditor should be accountable to the residents. He said he believes that changing those positions takes the power from the hands of voters.

Singer has been a proponent of the change, saying the “Council-Manager form ensures the treasurer and auditor will be qualified professionals appointed by the County Council rather than popularly elected citizens who may or may not be qualified.”

Key contested seats and candidates asked to participate in the forum include those running for state and local offices.

Readers are encouraged to send questions that may be asked of those candidates by emailing

The forum will be posted to for replay on demand.

For more information, call Karen Daily at 644-2383.

CANDIDATES INVITED TO THE FORUM Candidates who have committed: • S.C. State Senate

District 26

Republican challenger Deedee Vaughters

• S.C. House of Representatives District 81

Petition candidate Jane Vaughters

Republican Don Wells

• S.C. House of Representatives

District 86

Write-in challenger David Lobb

Incumbent Republican Bill Taylor

• Sheriff

Write-in challenger Jim Vause

• Probate Judge

Challenger Republican Jane Page Thompson

• Treasurer

Write-in John Cagle

Write-in Debra Folk

Write-in Jason Goings

Write-in Angela Gunter

Write-in Melissa Oremus

Write-in Robin Saylor

Write-in Ed Smith

Write-in Sonya Spray

• School Board

District 8

Tad Barber

Wes Funderberg

Bruce Wheelon

Candidates who say they won’t attend: • S.C. State Senate

District 26

Incumbent Democrat Nikki Setzler

• Sheriff

Incumbent Republican Michael Hunt

• Probate Judge

Incumbent Democrat Sue Roe