Three Democratic candidates for state governor will appear at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Ardmore Convention Center for a debate on questions submitted by area residents.

Gubernatorial contenders Drew Edmondson, former attorney general; Connie Johnson, former state senator; and Scott Inman, minority speaker of the House, are three candidates who Kyle Lawson, Carter County Democratic Party chair, believes present value for the state.

“These are all very viable candidates with years of leadership throughout the state, and I think that each one of them brings something to the table to save Oklahoma, to help it grow and to fix current issues this state is facing,” Lawson said.

Lawson believes the biggest issue the state faces is the $215 million budget hole state lawmakers have struggled to fill in both regular and special sessions. 

The purpose of this candidate debate is to educate the community on what exactly each candidate stands for, Lawson believes, as well as to demonstrate what he believes is growing momentum for Democrats in Oklahoma.

Lawson said $5,000 has already been raised in underwriting contributions, and expects more than 200 area and state residents to attend Tuesday’s debate.

“The fact that there’s so much interest in this event speaks volumes,” Lawson said. “We expect there to be a lot of people. There are more people than ever involved in the state of Oklahoma.”

Along with the state’s budget, the debate will touch on topics related to education, environmental issues, health care, infrastructure and criminal justice.

Debate questions must be submitted by 5 p.m. Monday to Citizens may call or text questions about the debate to Lawson at (580) 768-4711.

The three debate participants are the only Democrats to officially enter to the race at this time, though others have been mention as a possibility. The Republican field is much more crowed in the early goings with six hopefuls declaring for the race including Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City, Dan Fisher, former State Representative, Gary Jones, Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector, Todd Lamb, Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, Gary Richardson, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and businessman Kevin Stitt. Three Libitarians have entered the race as well, including Rex Lawhorn, telecommunications technician,  Joe Moldonado (aka Joe Exotic), zookeeper and Chris Powell, candidate for Oklahoma County Clerk in 2016.

Current Gov. Mary Fallin is ineligible to run for reelection due to term limits.