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NJ’s House, Senate candidates to meet in TV debates

October 7, 2018

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey voters will have a chance starting this week to watch Democrats and Republicans vying for seats face off in debates.

NJTV, the state’s public television broadcaster, is televising and live-streaming four House and Senate debates starting Wednesday, when Democrat Mikie Sherrill and Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber are set to clash in their race for the 11th District’s open seat.

With roughly a month until Election Day on Nov. 6, campaign signs are popping up in yards, money is fueling campaign commercial wars and candidates are making their closing pitches.

At the top of the ticket this year is the Senate race, in which Republican Bob Hugin is hoping to become the first GOP candidate in New Jersey to win election to the Senate since 1972. He faces Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez.

The debates come as the Oct. 16 voter registration deadline approaches.

A closer look at the races:

11th DISTRICT

Sherrill, who piloted helicopters in the Navy before working as an assistant federal prosecutor, is facing Webber, an attorney and state lawmaker.

The pair will meet in a candidate forum and untelevised debate Tuesday in rural Sussex County before meeting for the NJTV debate on Wednesday.

The northern New Jersey seat is open because Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen is retiring. Sherrill has a fundraising advantage in the traditionally Republican district.

7th DISTRICT

Republican incumbent Leonard Lance and former Obama administration State Department official Tom Malinowski are debating Oct. 17 on TV. Lance is seeking his sixth term representing the northern New Jersey district.

SENATE

Menendez is seeking his third term and going against Hugin, a former executive at drugmaker Celgene. Polls show the race has tightened in blue New Jersey, where Democrats have a more than 900,000-voter-registration advantage over Republicans. The two candidates will meet in an Oct. 24 debate.

Hugin has attacked Menendez as corrupt, accusations stemming from a federal corruption indictment, which ended with charges being dropped after a mistrial. Menendez denied wrongdoing.

Menendez has cast Hugin as a surrogate for President Donald Trump, who’s unpopular in New Jersey, and as a greedy CEO. Hugin said his company has done life-saving working making cancer drugs.

3rd DISTRICT

Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur faces former Obama administration national security aide Andy Kim. MacArthur, who has been an ally of Trump’s, is seeking his third term.

The two have met before, but they’ll be meeting on statewide television on Halloween.

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