A candidate in the July 22 Republican runoff for the Cherokee County Commission District 4 seat will not be participating in an upcoming forum hosted by the Cherokee County Republican Women.
Larry Singleton, who is facing fellow Woodstock resident Scott Gordon in the run-off for the seat, cited low participation and location for his reasons as to why he will not be participating.
Singleton, who served on the commission in the same post from 1999 to 2003, noted he did appreciate the group's efforts to organize forums for voters.
However, in his own attendance of earlier forums hosted by this organization, Singleton said he noticed the District 4 attendees were mostly Republican Party officials and representatives of candidates.
District 4 covers the southwest quadrant of Cherokee, including Woodstock, Towne Lake and unincorporated Acworth.
To determine the reason for what he coined "District 4 voter apathy," Singleton said he surveyed a number of voters in the southwest area of the county as to why there were not attending the forums.
The candidate told Patch he knocked on roughly 1,600 doors Towne Lake and one in four people answered the door.
In talking with those people, Singleton said voters not only said the venue — Cherokee County Historic Courthouse — was inconvenient, but the starting time of the forum would not allow them to leave their jobs and get to the event on time.
Singleton said the voters he spoke with told him they would "never" go to Canton for a political debate for forum.
In comparison, Singleton said when he ran for the commission in 1998, forums were held in Waleska, Canton and Woodstock. During that time, county commission candidates were elected by voters across the county, not just those in their respective posts.
The candidate said he communicated this information to the forum organizers before the primary, and even offered to find a "neutral" location. But those talks broke down.
"The leadership in that group never wants to leave Canton," he said, referring to the organization's location choice for political debates.
He suggested places such as the Chambers at City Center in downtown Woodstock, the Cherokee County Community Center at Oak Grove in southwest Cherokee or Hillside United Methodist Church in Towne Lake as possible locations closer to District 4 voters.
Singleton said he is in talks to participate in a forum in July at the Chambers "so people who actually vote for us can actually see us."Diane Rugg, communications secretary for the Republican Women's group, declined to comment on Singleton's decision.
Along with the District 4 candidates, the forum will also include a question and answer session between former U.S. Rep Bob Bar and former Georgia Senator Barry Loudermilk, who are both are running for the District 11 seat.
That seat covers Cherokee, Bartow and parts of Cobb County.
The forum will start at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 26 at the historic courthouse, located at 100 North Street in downtown Canton.