POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Senate candidates to debate in Gainesville this weekend

Gwinnettians could have a chance to see the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate square off in a debate this weekend.

The Georgia GOP has a series of debates throughout the state in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring at the end of the year.

The closest of the events will be held this weekend in Gainesville.

The major players on the May primary ballot are expected to attend, including Congressmen Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. The debate will be moderated by radio talk show host Time Bryant.

The debate is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium on Washington Street.

Campaign office opening

Also on Saturday, Congressman Hank Johnson plans to hold a grand opening for his re-election campaign office.

Johnson, whose 4th District includes portions of southern and western Gwinnett, is running for his fifth term in Congress.

According to a press release, he will be joined by his wife Mereda Davis Johnson and local leaders from across the district to open the campaign office at 2853 Panola Road in Lithonia. The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.

At the event, Johnson is expected to introduce Meredith Lilly as his campaign manager. Lilly was the state director for President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 and worked as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s campaign manager in 2013.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.