With primary elections coming up in June for the Congressional seat in the 8th District, which covers a majority of Hudson County, just how many debates will take place on the Democratic side?  It’s, in a manner of speaking, a debate debate.

Last week Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who has announced his intension to challenge freshman incumbent, Rep. Rob Menendez, for the nomination sent a letter to the Menendez campaign asking for six debates leading up to the Primary Election on June 4th.

The full letter reads as follows:

Dear Congressman Menendez Jr.:

The voters of the 8th district deserve to be able to make a direct side-by-side comparison of our views, records of accomplishment, and fundamental differences. That is best accomplished through a series of debates. Toward that end, I challenge you to a total of 6 debates between the filing deadline of March 25 and primary day.

These debates should be hosted across the district, with priority given to televised and live-streamed options to reach the largest possible audience.  My campaign manager, Al Freedman, will reach to discuss the details.

I look forward to a constructive and robust discussion that will better enable 8th district voters to make an informed choice.


Mayor Ravi Bhalla
When contacted by Hud News for his reaction to Bhalla’s invitation, Rep. Menendez’s Communications Director Michael Zhadanovsky, texted a statement from the Congressman

which reads, “The residents of the 8th Congressional District deserve an issues-based campaign, which is why we agreed to participate in the New Jersey Globe and Hudson County View debates. We will continue to entertain every offer and opportunity to engage with our voters and will participate in multiple debates and forums. And whether that number ends up being 6 or 60, voters will hear about our incredible legislative and constituent service record. I am focused on the work of serving our residents in Congress every single day, and that will remain my focus as we work to be re-elected.”

So, the bottom line is, there will be Democratic Primary Election debates between incument Congressman Rob Menendez and challenger, Mayor Ravi Bhalla, leading uo to June 4th.  The question is, just how many?

We will have to wait and see.