TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New York and Philadelphia TV stations along with universities and other media will be hosting three debates in this year's contest to succeed New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The Election Law Enforcement Commission on Tuesday selected a partnership of ABC, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Univision, Rutgers University and the League of Women Voters for one debate along with a group that includes CBS, William Paterson University and Gannett to host another of the two gubernatorial debates.

NJTV and Montclair State University will host a debate for the as-yet-unnamed candidates for lieutenant governor.

Dates and times have not been set, but are required to be anywhere from Sept. 19 to Oct. 27, according to the commission.

A closer look at the candidates and the race so far:



The race to succeed Christie, who is term-limited after two administrations, is already taking shape. Democrat Phil Murphy has a double-digit edge in the polls over Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. But the surveys also show that many voters have not begun tuning into the race yet and could get more familiar with the candidates as the Nov. 7 contest approaches, according Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray.

Murphy has never held elected office and served as Barack Obama's ambassador to Germany after working as an executive at Goldman Sachs.

Guadagno has served as Christie's top deputy and the state's first lieutenant governor for two terms. She's a former federal prosecutor and Monmouth County sheriff.



That's not entirely settled yet, but the leading-party candidates are in.

Murphy and Guadagno will both participate in the debates because they're both accepting public matching funds. Attending the debates is a requirement of taking the public cash.

It's unclear whether any of the five third-party candidate will make the cut to participate. Participation hinges on a candidate's ability to raise and commit to spending $430,000, according to the commission.



The state's public matching fund program dates to 1974 and allows candidates to get $2 in public cash for every $1 raised. Candidates must raise $430,000 to qualify for public money.

Matching funds are financed through donations designated on state income tax forms and through the general fund.

The program also comes with strings attached.

Murphy and Guadagno face a cap of $9.3 million in potential public funds with a spending limit of $13.8 million.

Murphy did not participate in the public option during the primary and instead spent about $16 million of his own cash on that race.