Four Assembly candidates in the 21st legislative district have agreed to a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 26.
The Republican incumbents don’t number among those four.
Democratic candidates Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman have agreed to the debate, as have conservative independents Martin Marks and Harry Pappas, according to a copy of the debate rules obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
Incumbents Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) have not.
The two Republicans declined two previous dates offered by the LWV, according to emails obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
The league typically picks dates for a debate then invites candidates to attend.
The incumbents’ campaign declined both dates citing scheduling conflicts, according to previous emails obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
Bramnick is set to headline a stand up comedy fundraiser for the Republican campaign on October 17, the first date offered by the league.
It’s unclear what the incumbents’ conflict was for a debate proposed for Oct. 12.
The debate rules provide each candidate in attendance with a two-minute opening and closing remarks. Candidates are provided one minute to respond to questions with the option of a 30-second followup once each candidate has answered a given question.
Candidates who cannot attend the debate can submit a short statement to be read by the debate moderator. Substitutes are not allowed.
“I must ask rhetorically, ‘what are Bramnick and Munoz trying to hide?” said former Marks, a former Mayor of Scotch Plains. “The answer of course is they both have a lot of political baggage they would evidently prefer not to discuss.”