The first gubernatorial debate between incumbent, first term Democrat Phil Murphy and former Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli takes place at 7 o’clock this evening. The debate will take place at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In North Jersey it will air on WABC-TV Channel 7.
The debate will also air on WPVI-TV in South Jersey, Univision, WHYY Radio and WCTC Radio. It will also stream on nj.com, 6abc.com, abc7ny.com, ABC’s streaming apps and TV apps used by Android TV, Apple TV, Fire, Hulu and Roku devices.
With five weeks to go before election day on November 2, most polls indicate Governor Murphy has the lead, although Ciattarelli’s campaign plans to have him come out swinging when it comes to taxes. During the course of the campaign Ciattarelli and his Lieutenant Governor-running mate, Senator Diane Allen, have focused on a phrase Murphy used over and over during a speech to south Jersey business owners in 2019.
During that speech in Glassboro, Governor Murphy stated, “If you’re a one-issue voter and tax rate is your issue, either a family or a business, if that’s the only basis upon which you’re going to make a decision, we’re probably not your state.”
New Jersey voters have shown strong support in the way Governor Murphy has handled the nearly two-year long coronavirus pandemic. A recent poll by Monmouth University has Murphy up 51-38 percent.
The poll indicates voters trust Murphy by a margin of 53 percent to 23 percent when it comes to the pandemic. Ciattarelli, on the other hand, holds an edge on taxes…39 percent to 33 percent. Ciattatelli also has a slight edge when it comes to business. The Governor holds a slight advantage when it comes to handling crime.
Polls conducted by Ciattarelli’s campaign show the race within the statistical margin of error.
Tonight’s debate is the first of three debates in this year’s race. Murphy and Ciattarelli will debate again in Glassboro on October 12, which will will air on PBS. Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Allen will debate in Lawrenceville on Oct. 5.