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Republican candidates gather in Macon for U.S. Senate debate

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On Saturday, March 8, seven Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate met at Macon's Anderson Conference Center.

The candidates are vying to be their party's nominee in an effort to capture the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Even though Bibb County primarily votes Democratic, Republicans are still relatively competitive -- especially in a mid-term election.

In 2012, President Barack Obama had won 60 percent of the overall vote in Bibb County and won the majority of the forty Macon-Bibb precincts.

All the candidates who showed up had officially qualified in Atlanta between March 3-7, 2013.The candidates are the following: Former Secretary of State Karen Handel, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, U.s. Rep. Paul Broun, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, David Perdue, Art Gardner, and Derrick Grayson.

The Affordable Care Act or 'Obamacare' was one of the topics of the debate and the extreme right of the Republican Party has made it a centerpiece of their campaigns and some of the Republican candidates voted to shutdown the government in an effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act law which was passed nearly four years ago.

Thus far, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives who have attempted to repeal 'Obamacare' over forty times in the past three years.

According to WMAZ-TV:

Paul Broun, said he would go as far as trying to completely eliminate the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most of candidates staked out the conservative position on most issues, but Art Gardner says he supports same sex marriage and a woman's right to choose. He says while Republicans have strong fiscal policy, their positions on social issues alienate younger voters.

After the debate, the Bibb County Republicans had a straw poll, and Karen Handel won.

The Republican Primary is scheduled for May 20th.

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