The Great Debate preview - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

The Great Debate preview

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The stage is set and seven gubernatorial hopefuls are ready to convince voters they're the man to lead Mississippi for the next four years.

Political consultant Jere Nash said, "It's sort of a pressure packed event."

Hosted by the Mississippi College School of Law in downtown Jackson, both Democrat and Republican contenders are set to debate the issues facing the state from the budget and education down to the economy and jobs.

Nash also said, "A debate really offers voters an unblemished way of looking at the candidates, hearing what they have to say and it's an important thing to pay attention to."

Political analyst Andy Taggart said, "The opportunity to literally compare candidates head-to-head and face-to-face is a good thing for voters."

Standing behind the podiums will be Republicans Phil Bryant, James Broadwater, Dave Dennis, Hudson Holliday, and Ron Williams.

On the Democratic side, it's Johnny Dupree and Bill Luckett.

A combination political analysts say is almost unheard of.

Taggart said, "It's historic in some respects in the sense that we see candidates from both parties before a primary all glomed together in the same program."

As the candidates try and gain as many votes as possible with the clock ticking down until the August 2nd primaries, analysts say actually getting voters to the polls is what will decide who can call themselves governor.

Nash said, "Voting is the way we hold politicians accountable and the fewer of number of people engaging that exercise makes it easier for politicians to get away with whatever it is they want to do."

Taggart said, "I think it is a very cool thing that the government works for the people and that people get to decide every four years in peaceful fashion who is going to serve in our government.  Regrettably an awful lot of folks every four years decide not to participate and I think that's just a tragedy."

The debate kicked off at 7 o'clock this evening and will be aired across the state from Biloxi to Memphis.

Be sure to watch right here on WLBT.

Plus, the debate will be streamed live on the WLBT website, wlbt dot com.

Even if you miss that, WLBT will have a wrap up and reaction tonight on the WLBT 10 PM report.

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