It will be a busy weekend four Republicans in the 1st Congressional District.

Blue Earth County Republicans will host a gubernatorial debate on Friday at the Mankato Event Center in conjunction with their 1st Congressional District Convention.

Gubernatorial candidates participating in this debate are Keith Downey, Jeff Johnson, Lance Johnson, Phillip Parrish and Mary Giuliani Stephens.

This event will also feature candidates seeking endorsement for 1st District U.S. Congress, Jim Hagedorn and Carla Nelson, as well as U.S. Senate candidate Jim Newberger.

Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. for a social hour, followed by words from the candidates, and the debate runs from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The convention will be held the following day at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato for the purpose of endorsing the GOP’s 1st Congressional District candidate for United States Congress, and consideration of resolutions to the Party’s platform.

Blue Earth County Chair Willa Dailey said: “We are excited to host this event on behalf of our convention participants. The Party’s endorsement process is vital to unifying support for candidates the Delegates feel are best qualified to represent Republicans on the ballot in the November general election.”

Congressman Tim Walz’s District 1 seat is open because he is leaving to make a run for governor.

The endorsing convention begins at 9:30 a.m. in Mankato.