Josh Welle wants three debates with Rep. Chris Smith, but it doesn’t look like Smith wants the same.
“Chris Smith doesn’t believe people should have a voice, especially if they don’t agree with his dangerous agenda. I’m ready to debate Smith anytime and anywhere. I believe that voters deserve an opportunity to see and hear candidates side-by-side prior to going to the voting booth,” Welle said in a statement. “What is Smith hiding from? Where is Chris Smith?”
When asked about the debate schedule that their candidate would prefer, Smith’s campaign demurred, instead launching an attack on Welle over an unrelated manner.
Scott Maraldo said that Welle was attempting to distract voters from past statements that might insult some voters in the district.
In his statement, Maraldo linked to a video posted on MoreMonmouthMusings.com, a partisan website run by conservative Art Gallagher, that depicted Welle at a primary campaign event last February.
“I want to fight against discrimination in this district, I want to fight against racism in this district. I want to bring new jobs in this district in the green economy,” Welle said at the time. “But, as you go to Howell and Jackson and Allentown and Millstone and people who voted for Chris Smith for 37 years, they’re not there yet.”
Welle has committed to holding six town halls before November’s election. Whether or not they will help him win New Jersey’s safest Republican-held seat remains to be seen. Smith has not held a town hall since at least 2010.
Smith has held the seat since 1980 and has easily won reelection since the district was redrawn in 1983.