Tonight is your only chance to see the two major-party candidates vying to be New Jersey’s second-in-command square off in a debate.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, the incumbent and running mate of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, and former state Sen. Diane Allen, the running mate of Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, will tangle at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the lone lieutenant governor debate of the state’s gubernatorial race.
It comes exactly four weeks before the Nov. 2 election.
Here’s what you need to know:
TIME: 7 p.m. The debate is one hour long.
WHERE: Rider University in Lawrenceville.
HOW TO LISTEN: It will not be carried live on radio. But it will be rebroadcast on 77 WABC radio.
The 69-year-old Essex County resident has been lieutenant governor under Murphy the last four years. They’re now seeking a second term.
Oliver was previously the first Black woman to serve as state Assembly speaker in New Jersey history and served more than two decades in the lower house of the state Legislature. As lieutenant governor, she’s also the first Black woman elected to statewide office in state history.
The 73-year-old Burlington County resident is also a former lawmaker with more than 20 years of experience in Trenton. She came out of retirement to join Ciattarelli, another former state lawmaker, in his quest to unseat Murphy.
Older South Jersey residents might also remember Allen as a local television news anchor in Philadelphia.
THE OTHER CONTENDERS
There are three other lieutenant governor candidates: Heather Warburton of the Green Party, Eveline Brownstein of the Libertarian Party, and Vivian Sahner of the Socialist Workers Party. But they did not meet the fundraising requirements of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission to qualify for the debate.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Whoever wins will hold the second-highest-ranking position in New Jersey state government for four years, filling in whenever the governor is out of town. They would also take over should the governor leave office for a period of time that depends on when the vacancy occurs.
The lieutenant governor currently oversees a state government department. Oliver runs the state Department of Community Affairs.
A NEW-ISH JOB
Oliver is only the second lieutenant governor in New Jersey history. The position was created in 2010 after the previous two governors at the time — Republican Christie Whitman and Democrat Jim McGreevey — both resigned, leaving the then-state Senate presidents to serve more than a year each as governor.
WOMEN IN CHARGE
No matter who wins, it’s guaranteed the job will continue to be held by a woman. Before Oliver, the state’s first lieutenant governor was Republican Kim Guadagno.
WHO IS SPONSORING THE DEBATE?
The New Jersey Globe, a political website; the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University; and Project Ready, a social justice non-profit organization.
WHO IS MODERATING THE DEBATE?
David Wildstein, the editor of the New Jersey Globe. (He is best known as the admitted mastermind of the lane-closing scheme at the center of the infamous George Washington Bridge scandal — also known as Bridgegate — that rocked former Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. Wildstein pled guilty in the case, but the plea was later dismissed).
Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University, and Shennell McCloud, CEO of Project Ready, are also panelists.
WHAT THE POLLS SHOW
Murphy has led Ciattarelli in all public-opinion polls so far, most by double digits, though the lead has narrowed.
The most recent survey, released last week by Stockton University, showed Murphy up by 9 percentage points.
WHEN DO THE GOVERNOR CANDIDATES DEBATE AGAIN?
Murphy and Ciattarelli have already faced off in one fierce debate Sept. 28. They will battle in their second and final debate Oct. 12 — a week from today — at Rowan University in Glassboro.