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Incumbents in the 21st legislative district have declined two dates for a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters, according to emails obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
In an email to the campaign of Republican legislators Jon Bramnick and Nancy Munoz, Susan Ferris Rights, Co-President of the LWV of Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit, said the Republican incumbents and their team were unresponsive to the league’s attempts to schedule a debate.
“I have asked you to give me dates and a venue that DOES work for you,” Ferris after the second debate date was declined Thursday. “I have also suggested that you call me to discuss this at my cell phone at [phone number] and have not received a phone call. I have not been offered a phone number by which to contact you.”
Ferris said she also called the incumbents’ legislative offices, calling Bramnick’s once and Munoz twice.
In her email, Ferris said the LWV secured a debate venue for October 12 and was filling out paperwork needed to lock the venue down.
Three candidates have confirmed they will be attending the debate, and a fourth was listed as a maybe.
Bramnick and Munoz face challengers from Democrats Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman and conservative independents Martin Marks and Harry P. Pappas.
The incumbents’ campaign told Ferris they were not consulted on either of the dates, which they said they could not attend because of irreparable scheduling conflicts, and asked whether the LWV had allowed other candidates more input.
“October 12th does not work with our schedules either. This date was again chosen without any input from our campaign. We will continue to work with the League to secure a venue on a date that works for all involved,” the campaign’s email said. “For clarity, when did the League begin consulting the other campaigns with regard to a forum? On what date was original written correspondence regarding a forum sent to the other campaigns? Who made the decision to pick a date then inform our campaign?”
Ferris told the Republican campaign — it’s not immediately clear who wrote the response — the league typically picks dates then invites candidates to attend.
Last month, Mandelblatt and Gunderman challenged the Republican incumbents to 16 debates — one in each of the district’s towns.
The Republicans didn’t take them up on the offer. The Democrats responded to the silence by posting a video of a chicken could to Twitter. Two of the chickens wore placards with the incumbents’ names on them.
It’s unclear whether Bramnick and Munoz will attend the October 12 debate.
“If you have a better idea, now would be a good time to suggest it,” Ferris told the Republicans’ campaign.NJ LD-21 LWV Debate