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District 2 debate tonight

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- With last-minute preparation complete and both candidates eager to finish their 2010 campaigns on a high note, the stage is literally set for the final public debate of the Second District Congressional race tonight at the Municipal Auditorium.

The debate, which is being sponsored by The Albany Herald, will start at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and state Rep. Mike Keown, R-Coolidge, will be at twin on-stage podiums.

The event may be the final public event at which both candidates will appear together before the polls open Tuesday morning.

"We hope this will be a great opportunity for voters to the candidates explain their positions and the issues in the last days of the campaign," Albany Herald Editor Jim Hendricks, who will moderate the debate, said Wednesday. "We expect to cover a wide variety of topics during the hour."

With the latest polling data suggesting that nine-term incumbent Bishop has a slim lead over challenger Keown, the Second District race Tuesday is expected to be unusually close.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. There is no reserved seating. The auditorium holds about 900 people and the seats will be taken on a first-come basis. Blocking off seats for later arrivals will not be permitted. Supporters will not be allowed to bring posters or signs inside the auditorium.

Parking will be available both to the rear of the auditorium, along Jackson Street and Pine Avenue, and at the county's nearby parking

deck on the 200 block of Jackson Avenue.

All questions will posed by panelists Terry Lewis, who has covered the campaigns for The Herald, and WFXL-TV political reporter James Kennedy.

Managing Editor Danny Carter will serve as timekeeper.