McCullough and Whelan to square off Thursday

The candidates in the state Senate, Assembly and Atlantic County executive's races will compete in debatesThursday evening at Stockton College in Pomona.

In this contentious 2nd legislative district, thecontest betweenRepublican state Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough and Democratic Assemblyman Jim Whelan commands particular attention.

It's a close racewhoseantagonistshave received unintended national press coverage as a consequence of former Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy's meltdown in office earlier this month.

It's also a key seat where theDemocrats hope tobolster their numbers in the upper house by bumping off McCullough, who was appointedto fill the unexpired term oflongtime GOP Sen. Bill Gormley. McCullough and Whelan to square off Thursday