Chris Christie's campaign says that New Jersey Network (NJN) has bowed to pressure from Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign by proposing a change in the gubernatorial debate schedule. NJN has asked the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) to move the debate from October 1 to October 22 to accommodate the governor's schedule.
The full text of a letter from Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien to ELEC Chair Jerry Fitzgerald English:
Dear Ms. English:
I learned for the first time yesterday that NJN has decided to unilaterally change the long-settled debate schedule because of pressure from the Corzine campaign (the only campaign optionally participating in the debates due to their self-funding status). NJN's decision to bow to pressure from the Corzine campaign is extremely disappointing, and suggests that NJN will allow the Corzine campaign to exert unnecessary influence over the debate.
If the Corzine campaign is serious about engaging in a frank and open discussion about the important issues facing this state, they must respect the current schedule and appear for the debate on the scheduled date. It remains unclear why the Corzine campaign has requested a three week delay in this scheduled debate, but the length of the delay is certainly suspicious. Seeking to delay the debate three full weeks appears to be a strategic consideration, not a scheduling conflict. Chris Christie is prepared to have the debate on the originally established date, and strongly believes that the debates should proceed as scheduled.
I also note that the proposed delay by the Corzine campaign will impact upon the date of the debate between the candidates for Lieutenant Governor. The voters of this state should not be forced to wait until just a few days before the election to begin hearing from the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor in this campaign. Unfortunately, the proposed delay tactics from the Corzine campaign would create just such a result. We urge you to reconsider this decision, and to honor the date originally established for the first debate on October 1st.
Christie-Guadagno Campaign Manager