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First Dawson County sheriffs debate set for Thursday
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The first planned debate for candidates vying to be Dawson County's next sheriff will be held tomorrow at McKee's Chapel.

Organized and moderated by retired deputy Mickey Gilbertson, the forum will give voters an opportunity to learn about the four candidates who have announced their intentions to seek the office currently held by four-term Sheriff Billy Carlisle, who will not seek reelection.

Those running are: Maj. Jeff Johnson, commander of the Dawson County Jail; Jeff Perry, retired chief parole officer for the state of Georgia; Frank Sosebee, chief of security for the Hall County Correctional Institution; and Capt. Tony Wooten, Dawson County Sheriff's public information officer and community policing program supervisor.

All four are running as republicans.

"Our next sheriff will be one of these four men. Let's not wait until the last minute to meet the candidates," he said.

Gilbertson said each candidate will have two minutes to introduce themselves and speak briefly about their campaigns, followed by questions generated by those in attendance.

"[This] is your chance to meet the candidates, ask questions and listen to what they have to say about their work experience, education, politics," he said. "Questions will be fielded directly from the voting public of Dawsonville."

Gilbertson said candidates will be given one minute to respond to questions.

Candidates will also have an additional two minutes after the question and answer session to make a closing statement.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. at McKee's Chapel. The church is at 2442 Elliott Family Parkway, Dawsonville.

Qualifying for the sheriff's race will be held March 7-11, with the primary election set for May 24. In the event there is a runoff, that election will be held July 26.

If no democrats seek the office, the primary winner would be the new sheriff and would take office Jan. 1, 2017.