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Crawford, Smith Face Off In First Debate Thursday

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With municipal primary elections exactly two months from today, two hopefuls for the Republican mayoral nomination will face off in their first debate of the season Thursday night.

Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana will host the debate between city councilman John Crawford and local businessman Tim Smith, taking place in the Ian Rolland Gallery at the Arts United Center.

200 seats were available for the event; it is now sold out.

Both men officially filed to run for the Republican mayoral nomination in January. Since launching their campaigns, the similarities between the candidates is apparent in their public platforms: both want to see greater emphasis on bringing down crime and drug numbers, and while they praise the progress Fort Wayne has made, both have said the city should now serve as an example for Midwest cities.

One major difference between the candidates is their view on abortion. Smith received the endorsement of Allen County’s Right-to-Life PAC on February 11 and labels himself a “pro-life candidate.” Crawford, on the other hand, has argued that the role of the mayor’s office rarely, if ever, extends into the abortion debate.

The winner of the Republican mayoral primary on May 7 will face off against Democratic mayor Tom Henry, who is running for his fourth term.

The debate will be moderated by WMEE-FM 97.3’s Andy Beckman, and will be a “laid-back, town hall format.” The event begins at 7 pm; doors open at 6:30.