Candidates square off for Congress on Thursday

Four GOP candidates running to succeed Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, will answer questions at a debate in Modesto on Thursday night.

The race is extremely competitive, with state Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater and former Congressman Richard Pombo of Tracy leading the way in fund raising. Polls by a Fresno TV station, however, show former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson running neck-and-neck with Denham. Fresno City Councilman Larry Westerlund rounds out the field.

A reception kicks off at 6 p.m., with the forum at 7, at 118 W. Orangeburg Ave.

It's sponsored by the Republican Party of Stanislaus County, the Stanislaus Chapter of the California Republican Assembly and the Modesto Junior College Republicans.