Local GOP candidates facing opposition in the August primaries will gather tonight in Steamboat Springs for the first of three candidate forums sponsored by the Routt County Republican Party.
County commissioner candidates Jeff Fry, Mark Marchus, Nancy Stahoviak and Bea Westwater are expected to attend tonight's forum, said Routt County Republican chairman Harmon "Buck" Buckland.
The informal gathering begins at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn, 3200 S. Lincoln Ave. Light refreshments will be served.
Buckland said each candidate in attendance will be given a few minutes to address the audience. A question-and-answer session will follow.
"It's just so people can meet the candidates," Buckland said. "I think it's quite important, especially in the races that we're having this year."
All are welcome to attend the event, regardless of political affiliation. Discussing specific issues with candidates often gives voters a new perspective on a particular office-seeker or their political party, Buckland said.
Stahoviak, an incumbent, is running for re-election for the District 1 county commissioner seat against fellow Republican Bea Westwater. Marchus and Fry are battling against each other for the opportunity to defeat Democratic incumbent Doug Monger for the District 2 county commissioner seat.
At least one candidate in the highly contested 3rd Congressional District race will attend tonight's forum. Pueblo County Sheriff Dan Corsentino will wrap up a day of meetings and appearances in Steamboat by attending the gathering.
Corsentino is facing four other Republicans -- Palisade peach grower Greg Walcher, state Rep. Gregg Rippy, state Rep. Matt Smith and Matt Aljanich of Steamboat -- in the Aug. 10 primary. The winner will oppose Democrat John Salazar in the November general election.
Buckland said he contacted the campaigns of all 3rd Congressional District candidates but was unable to receive confirmations from other candidates.
State Sen. Jack Taylor of Steamboat and state Rep. Al White of Winter Park aren't able to attend the forum, Buckland said. Neither of the two incumbents face Republican opposition in the August primary.
The Routt County Republican Party will sponsor similar forums Tuesday at Hayden Town Hall and July 28 at Oak Creek Town Hall.