LEWISTON — The Sun Journal will livestream the Lewiston municipal candidates’ forum Wednesday, providing voters a last-minute snapshot of the 2019 election.

The forum, organized by mayoral candidate Tim Lajoie, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Geiger Elementary School, 601 College St., and will feature separate sessions for City Council and School Committee candidates, and a mayoral session among Lajoie, Mark Cayer and Charles Soule.

Lajoie announced the forum earlier this month in response to a lack of a formal debate scheduled prior to the Nov. 5 election.

In prior years, organizations such as the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Lewiston Public Library and/or the Sun Journal have hosted candidate events.

Two years ago, according to Sun Journal Executive Editor Judith Meyer, the mayoral debates were held two weeks before the election. The newspaper received a number of complaints from residents who felt those debates were too late because absentee voting had been underway for so long.

The ideal time for a debate is mid-October, Meyer said, but Lajoie was not available at that time, which would have pushed the debate back to the date that attendees found unacceptable in 2017. In addition, the usual neutral space in the Lewiston Public Library was booked for the month, Meyer said.

However, Meyer agreed last week to serve as moderator for the Oct. 23 forum, with the event scheduled to be livestreamed on sunjournal.com. According to Meyer, questions will be taken from the live audience and from the online audience through the Sun Journal’s Facebook page.

Lajoie sent formal invitations to all 27 candidates for local office. While it’s unclear which candidates will attend, Cayer said he will participate in the mayoral session.

A schedule included on the forum invitation states that City Council and School Committee candidates will be given from 6-7 p.m. for introductions and to outline their platforms.

The mayoral session will take place from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., giving each candidate three minutes for introductions, followed by a town hall format question-and-answer session. Meyer will pose questions to the candidates by random selection. Candidates will have a two-minute time limit, aided by an official timer. Mayoral candidates will then get two minutes for a closing statement.

Members of the Lewiston High School Student Council are expected to help with the forum.


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