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Election 2017: Civic kicks off candidate forum time

By Staff | Jul 13, 2017

The Cape Coral Civic Association is finalizing its plans for the traditional kickoff to the municipal election season with its Primary Candidate Forum on July 18.

The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral then will host its Primary Candidate Hobnob on July 26 at Gulf Coast Village.

The Civic Association, incorporated in 1963, has been conducting the first Primary Election Candidate Forum in the city after the candidate qualifying period since 1970. The city elections are non-partisan and all 18 candidates for Mayor and City Council seats will attend the forum.

“This is one of the largest forums in terms of the number of candidates,” said Civic Association president Paul Prince. “I expect it will be kind of hectic with that many, planning our questions to try to keep it around 2-1/2 hours.”

The Primary Election is scheduled for Sept. 12 with the General Election on Nov. 7.

The forum begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Kiwanis Hall, 360 Santa Barbara Boulevard, and is free and open to the public. The doors to the hall open at 6 p.m. It’s the first function the association has held outside the Yacht Club ballroom.

“We wanted to make it more centrally located in the city,” said Prince. “Gloria Tate will be the guest moderator asking the questions.”

The forum will consist of three rounds of questioning for each group of candidates – Mayor and four City Council districts. Prince said the first set of questions will be general knowledge, the second are yes or no questions and the third round is district related.

“Candidates won’t have to answer the same question as everyone else,” said Prince. “They all get different questions.”

The Civic Association also plans a General Election Forum in October for candidates that survive the Primary Election voting.

Those attending the forum will be able to join the Civic Association for the annual membership fee of $5.

The Primary Candidate Hobnob is being conducted by the Chamber for the 10th year and is the first of two chances for voters to hear from city office candidates. The session runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gulf Coast Village, 1333 Santa Barbara Blvd.

“The majority of council and mayor candidates have confirmed they will be there,” said Chamber President/CEO Donna Germain. “It’s a networking event where people can get to know the candidates. Candidates won’t give speeches or be given specific questions, just a chance to mingle one on one with the voters who can get answers to the questions they want to ask.”

The event, of course, is free and open to the public with light snacks and beverages available.

Former Mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Hob nob.

“We will take a straw poll throughout the event and release the results the next morning,” said Germain. “We had 250 ballots cast last year. We usually get a good response from people, usually 200 to 300 people will come and go throughout the evening.”

The Chamber also hosts a Candidate Forum event before the General Election.