NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Who should replace Gov. Chris Christie as New Jersey’s chief executive?
CBS2, along with The Record and William Paterson University, will seek to help voters answer that question by hosting a live debate on Oct. 18 between Democrat and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy and Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
The two major party candidates will answer questions gathered from political experts and voters from across the Garden State highlighting top concerns heard through a series of online video discussions hosted through Facebook in September.
CBS2’s Kristine Johnson will moderate the debate with a panel also made up of Jessica Dean of CBS station KYW-TV in Philadelphia, Levon Putney of WCBS Newsradio 880 and Alfred Doblin, editorial editor of The Record newspaper.
The debate from William Paterson University will broadcast on CBS2 and WCBS 880, and stream to online viewers through the CBSNewYork.com website and Facebook accounts.
In July, the two major parties broadened their tickets by naming lieutenant governor running mates.
Republican candidate Guadagno named Mayor Carlos Rendo, of Woodcliff Lakes, as her partner, bringing a Bergen County leader into her campaign.
After winning her party’s nomination, Guadagno said there were too many New Jersey families who cannot afford to stay in the state and have to pack up and leave.
“My principles are Main Street principles. I learned them growing up as I moved from town to town and state to state, when my father lost his job and he had to move to another state to get a better job and a better future for his wife and his five children,” she said. “I learned a lot, and I bring those values today.”
Democrat Murphy named former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, matching an experienced lawmaker to his Wall Street experience. Murphy, 59, a multimillionaire former executive at Goldman Sachs, has been pushing a progressive platform – and also an anti-Christie platform.
“Four more years of Christie-style politics won’t change New Jersey’s unfair, unsuccessful, unsustainable course,” he said.
Both candidates’ election campaigns are expected to be critical of Christie, who is term limited and must leave office.
THE TOWN HALLS
During the online town halls, social media users raised questions about issues from public education and transit to marijuana legalization and gun control.
Responding to a question on public education, Doblin noted that both Guadagno and Murphy are “pretty equal in saying they support” it as a policy – but differ as to how they would fund it. He said Murphy was more aligned with public sector unions and wants to return to past funding formulas, while Guadagno wants to fund public education while cutting taxes.
“Neither will be overly dissimilar,” Doblin said. “Neither will want to abandon public school.”
Meanwhile on the sale of firearms, a Reddit user asked how New Jersey will maintain its position toward the bottom of the list of firearm deaths by state. Johnson noted that Gov. Chris Christie was very clear that he was not going to introduce more restrictions on firearms.
But Doblin noted that New Jersey gun laws are already strong, and said Christie was less conservative on the issue before he began his 2016 presidential campaign. As to Murphy and Guadagno, Doblin said both were “pro-Second Amendment.”
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.