The first debate between incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli is set for 7 p.m. this evening on ABC News.
You can watch the Live Stream of the clash between the two major party candidates right here.
The stream is coming to you live from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and will air live on Channel 7, WABC-TV.
“Murphy is trying to become the first Democrat in 44 years to win reelection and to buck a trend going back to 1985 that has seen the party of the president lose the New Jersey governorship,” according to ABC News.
But the contest has not exactly captured a listless public’s imagination, mostly a function of Democrats’ considerable voter registration advantages, especially in the back-to-back double whammy of Chris Christie and Donald J. Trump.
Gov. Phil Murphy maintains a double-digit lead over challenger Jack Ciattarelli, although it is slightly smaller than the incumbent’s advantage in last month’s Monmouth University Poll. The Democrat continues to enjoy a large issue advantage on handling the pandemic, while the Republican has a small edge on taxes, according to Patrick Murray, who conducted the poll.
The Murphy campaign’s ads painting the GOP nominee as being too close to former President Donald Trump do not appear to have had much impact on the race, with half the electorate still having no opinion of Ciattarelli.
For his part, the Republican has steadily criticized Murphy on property taxes, in particular objecting to the Democrat saying that if property taxes are a voter’s issue, New Jersey is probably not that person’s state.
“Who says that?” Ciattarelli wants to know in his ads.
The governor’s Democratic allies are confident that Murphy’s conduct and policies during the COVID-19 pandemic will endear him to people on and before Nov. 2nd. The counter-attacking Ciattarelli has focused on the governor’s mistakes, including scandals at Edna Mahan Women’s Correctional Institute and New Jersey’s nursing homes.
Murphy has painted Ciattarelli as too hampered by the Trump-loving, mask-hating Republican base to be a credible leader of a blue state like New Jersey, and the negativity of the incumbent’s messaging has fueled Ciattarelli’s argument that the governor looks less sure-footed than the public polls profess.