All New Jersey’s congressional delegation – incumbents of both parties – should have at least one debate with their challengers before election time. Some of the incumbents have been resisting, but in the interest of transparency, voters should have the chance to see the candidates face each other and get grilled. Some of those logjams eased in the last couple days:
NJ-7: Ed Potosnak (D) & Leonard Lance (R) – More than a month ago young hard-charger Ed Potosnak challenged first-term incumbent Leonard Lance to 5 debates; one in each county, one for TV. Weeks later, Lance said he’d debate but without saying when, where or how often. This week, Potosnak decided to make it easy. He set up 6 debate events, all-set.
Given how close we are to the end, it’s a small breakthrough that Lance finally talked personally by phone today with Potosnak. Lance’s campaign has generally avoided reaching out; preferring to insist only via media that he’s willing to meet. This is the dance of Fall, the will-they? two-step; the candidate in the cushier position dipping backwards, and twirling away. Lance had that same complaint two years ago against Linda Stender. So he of all people should make himself available for head-to-head matchups. Lance has had a lifetime in public office and has the built-in advantage of incumbency. He’s in the catbird seat, and with a couple years of Congress under his belt, he should be leaping at the chance to meet up with Potosnak. Continuing to say you’re for debates but not confirming any strains credulity, and NJ-7 voters deserve better. No more delaying, no running out the clock. Potosnak’s done all the homework already. Or want another metaphor? It’s shovel-ready.
NJ-11: Douglas Herbert (D) & Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) – Army vet Herbert has been challenging the incumbent to debate for 50 days, even provoking him by holding a press event outside GOP HQ in Morristown. Herbert go a little farther than Potosnak did in getting the incumbent nailed down, but then Frelinghuysen may be feeling a little more secure. The NJ-11 debates will be Oct. 17 at WMTR Studios in Morristown, the second in Hackettstown at WRNJ. (both 11am). h/t Kelsey17