PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork) — Questions on subjects from climate change to the expansion of casino gambling were raised Tuesday as New Jersey residents got another opportunity to ask question for the gubernatorial candidates in a third virtual town hall.
Jessica Dean of KYW-TV, CBS3 Philadelphia and The Record’s Alfred Doblin analyzed the social media users’ questions and where Democratic nominee Phil Murphy and Republican nominee Kim Guadagno stand on the issues specifically affecting southern New Jersey.
One social media user named Maggie asked which industries and jobs in New Jersey would be most affected by climate change, and how the candidates would handle climate change and its economic impact.
Doblin said New Jersey is “a pretty ecofriendly state” – despite comments about brownfields and the state’s past industrial backgrounds. The challenge, he said, is that if climate change is to blame for severe storms, it will have a tremendous impact – particularly along the Jersey Shore.
If environmental funds must go to protect and prepare the Jersey Shore, they will be taken away from other projects, Doblin noted.
When it comes to green industry, Murphy will likely focus more on it than Guadagno will, he said.
A Facebook user, Fred Schaffer, expressed concern about Superstorm Sandy. He argued that Gov. Chris Christie thinks “the state is fully recovered, and we know that it’s not” with many still not back in their homes five years later.
Doblin said when it comes to Sandy recovery, Christie won points by fraternizing and exchanging a friendly hug with President Barack Obama, and with making a pitch to Republican lawmakers in Washington for relief. However, Doblin said, “The state has not been as good at assuring that people who are reaching these sorts of roadblocks, as it were, how they get funding.”
Guadagno will be expected to answer for the Christie administration and her own efforts as lieutenant governor when it comes to Sandy relief, Doblin said.
“Has she been loud enough advocating for these people?” he said.
A Reddit user asked about the horseracing and casino industry, for which expansion has been discussed in recent years. CBS Philly’s Dean noted that Atlantic City has been struggling to come back.
Meanwhile, Doblin noted, a referendum failed not long ago calling for a new casino outside Atlantic City – which could have brought casino gambling to the Meadowlands or Jersey City.
The question of gambling expansion affects the entire state, since more casinos are also happening in New York, and “the forces pulling against both parts of (New Jersey) are significant.”
Another Reddit used asked if both candidates are likely to maintain a policy of equality for all when it comes to gender, race, sexual orientation and disability.
Doblin said Guadagno and Murphy will be “nuanced in their difference.”
“Phil Murphy is a progressive’s progressive, so I mean, he’s going to be, I think, a strong advocate for people of color; for other minority groups; the LGBT community,” he said.
Doblin noted that the LGBT advocacy group Garden State Equality has endorsed Murphy – even though there is an openly gay candidate, former Long Hill Mayor Gina Genovese, who is running for governor as an independent.
Guadagno, meanwhile, is pro-choice when it comes to abortion and is “not a rigid, Tea Party kind of Republican.” But she is not as likely to move as far to the progressive left as Murphy given that she is a Republican, Doblin said.
A gubernatorial debate is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at William Paterson University in Wayne. It is sponsored by The Record and other Gannett newspapers, CBS2, and KYW-TV, CBS3 Philadelphia.