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W.Va. gubernatorial candidates to debate in Hedgesville

October 15, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Gov. Joe Manchin is scheduled to take part in a political debate Thursday night at Hedgesville High School as part of a two-day visit to the Eastern Panhandle, officials said.

Manchin's opponents are former Republican state Sen. Russ Weeks and Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson. Both are expected to attend.

Open to the public, the debate is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium, according to campaign and school officials. Manchin is seeking re-election to a second, four-year term. The annual salary for West Virginia's governor is $150,000.

The debate is sandwiched between a number of tentatively scheduled appearances in Berkeley and Jefferson counties that Manchin spokesman Matt Turner said Tuesday was official business of the governor.

Those appearances include a Thursday meeting with Berkeley County Schools leaders about the state's first "green" school (to be built in Berkeley County) and a visit to Charles Town, W.Va., for Mountain State Apple Harvest festivities also on Thursday.

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Manchin also is scheduled to present grant money to municipalities in the region in a Friday visit to Shepherdstown, W.Va., before leaving for Mineral County, officials said.

Manchin's re-election campaign spokeswoman Sara Scarbro said the debate was the only campaign event Manchin has scheduled.

-- Matthew Umstead

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