A radio gubernatorial debate is in the works, though it's unclear right now whether all three major candidates will agree to it.
Gov. Jon Corzine and Independent Christopher Daggett have said they will take part in a debate on WBGO – "Jazz 88" – on Thursday, October 22 at 8pm. But Republican gubernatorial nominee Christopher Christie is waiting to see how Corzine reconsiders his refusal to attend the League of Women Voters debate for October 16, which would have been broadcast by the New York and Philadelphia ABC affiliate, and from NJ 101.5.
"Jon Corzine is afraid to debate on a major network affiliate with a large audience but agrees to a debate on a station whose board is stacked with Democrat party loyalists," said Christie strategist Michael DuHaime. "He should be willing to go on network if for no other reason than to apologize to as many New Jerseyans as possible for raising income, business and property taxes, taking way property tax rebates and property tax deductions and doubling the unemployment rate. On Election Day, he won't be able to hide behind his money anymore."
After Corzine initially refused to participate in New Jersey Network's October 1 debate that was sanctioned by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), NJN tried to move it back to October 22, since Corzine indicated he would take part then. That led to ELEC's four commissioners deadlocked along partisan lines, and to Corzine acquiescing to the original date. Christie Campaign Manager Bill Stepien then issued a statement inviting Corzine to debate on the later date, since "it appears his schedule is also open for a debate on Oct. 22."
"While we have agreed to the debate, Christie has not, even after he challenged the governor to debate on that very same date," said Corzine spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith.
WBGO News Director Doug Doyle said that the October 22 date is not final, and that the station is attempting to find a way to accommodate all three candidates.
"There's nothing official on that on any side, because it's still in the preliminary talks," he said.
The Newark-based station reaches the northern half of New Jersey, all five boroughs of New York City and parts of New York State. Doyle said that he will look into partnering up with other public radio stations if he can confirm a date with all three candidates.