The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at The Richard Stockton College and The Press of Atlantic City have announced that all major-party candidates for the state Senate and General Assembly in the 1st, 2nd and 9th Legislative districts have accepted invitations to debate in October.
The college and the news organization are sponsoring all three debates.
Format for the debates calls for Senate candidates first, with Assembly candidates afterward. There will be opening statements, followed by questions from a two-person panel designated by the Hughes Center and The Press; both will also select a debate moderator. The Senate and Assembly debates are expected to last an hour each.
Location for the 1st District debates, which will be held Oct. 21, will be at the Old Courthouse in Cape May Court House, Middle Township. State Senate incumbent Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat from Dennis Township, will oppose GOP challenger Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt of Upper Township. In the Assembly race, GOP candidates Kristine Gabor of Upper Twp and Sam Fiocchi of Vineland will debate incumbent Nelson Albano, of Vineland, and Bob Andrzejczak of Middle Township.
Second-District debates will be held at Dante Hall in Atlantic City on Oct. 2. Republican Frank Balles of Egg Harbor Township, currently Atlantic County’s sheriff, will challenge incumbent Democrat James Whelan of Atlantic City. Republican incumbent Assemblymen John Amodeo, of Margate, and Chris Brown, of Galloway, will debate Democrat candidates Northfield Mayor Vince Mazzeo and Longport Mayor Nick Russo.
In the 9th District, which will be held at Stockton College’s Campus Center Theatre on Oct. 23, Republican incumbents Sen. Christopher Connors, of Lacey Township, and Assembly members Brian Rumpf, of Little Egg Harbor Township, and DiAnne Gove, of Long Beach Townshp, will debate Democrat Senate candidate Anthony Mazzella, of Bayville, and Peter Ferwerda, of Warren Grove, and Christopher J. McManus, of Manahawkin, in the Assembly race.
All debates will begin at 6 p.m.