Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono has enlisted legal help in her bid to change the date of a debate with incumbent Gov. Chris Christie.
The debates are required under the state’s matching campaign funds program and are currently scheduled for Oct. 8 and Oct. 15. Christie has already agreed to the dates, however, the Buono camp has reached out to Election Law Enforcement Commission Director Jeff Brindle to request his aid in changing the date of the Oct. 15 debate to be held at Montclair State University.
In the letter , attorney William Northgrave asks ELEC to step in because the October 15 date will dilute interest in the debate because it is the day before the special general election for the U.S. Senate seat.
According to Northgrave, Montclair State originally proposed Oct. 22 for the second debate but later contacted the campaigns to say the 15th was the only available date. According to Northgrave, this rescheduling gives ELEC jurisdiction to step in because according to the law, any change in date must not “compromise the ability to maximize outreach to the voting public.”
To remedy the problem, Northgrave asks that ELEC either require the debate to be held on the 22nd or another date before the Oct. 25 deadline, or find a new debate sponsor.
Brindle, Executive Director of ELEC, told PolitickerNJ the agency’s only responsibility is to choose the sponsors. Scheduling is up to the sponsors and the candidates.
To date, Christie has qualified for the matching funds program, which provides $2 in state money for every $1 raised by the candidates, but Buono has not. She has submitted the required donations, but ELEC has not yet approved them.