FMU to host gubernatorial debate

Lindsay Buchanan, Senior Writer

Francis Marion will host one of only three gubernatorial debates on Oct. 26 leading up to the midterm elections that will determine South Carolina’s new governor.

Gubernatorial hopefuls S.C. State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) and S.C. State Rep. Nikki Haley (R) will face a panel a week before elections at 7 p.m. in the Chapman Auditorium. The debate will air live on WBTW News 13, and C-SPAN.

FMU President Fred Carter said the debate could prove to be decisive for South Carolinians as they go to the polls on Nov. 2 to choose their new governor.

“FMU is proud to join with Coastal Carolina University, WBTW and the Morning News in hosting the debate,” Carter said. “We have had a very successful set of primary debates that focused on the issues critical to our state and region, and this general election debate between the two gubernatorial candidates promises to be energetic, enlightening and for many voters, definitive.”

Mid-term elections across the nation have been fraught with tension as voters wait to see which party will take control of the House and Senate in Washington, D.C. However, South Carolinians have the added pressure of choosing a new governor to replace current governor Mark Sanford who caused nationwide media attention in the last year of his term after it was discovered that he was having an extra-marital affair.

Both Haley and Sheheen are campaigning under the promise of improving South Carolina’s economy, jobs, government, schools and tax system. However, each candidate has different plans for how to accomplish those goals. Voters wishing to educate themselves on the two gubernatorial hopefuls can find further information at their websites: and

The candidates argued over a schedule and style for debates for several months before finally agreeing to three debates. The first was held yesterday in Spartanburg and hosted by WSPA News 7. The second will be held on Oct. 25 and hosted by SCETV, while the third and final debate will be held the next evening here at FMU. Originally, Sheheen asked Haley to participate in five Lincoln-Douglas style debates where the candidates would ask questions of each other, but Haley declined.

The Oct. 26 debate will be hosted by WBTW nightly news anchor Bob Juback and will include a panel of guests that will ask questions of the two candidates. The ticketed event is free to the public on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can be reserved, two per person, through the Office of Public and Community Affairs by calling (843) 661-1225 or by e-mailing