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State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton), left, and Democratic challenger Rupande Mehta.

Rupande Mehta pushing Bucco to debate her

Interim Morris GOP senator has not yet decided in a debate; the deadline in October 13.

By David Wildstein, October 08 2020 11:56 am

A GOP state senator appointed to fill a vacancy last year who is facing voters for the first time is facing criticism from his Democratic opponent for not yet agreeing to a debate.

In the 25th district special election for State Senate, Democrat Rupande Mehta claims that incumbent Anthony M. Bucco’s sluggishness in accepting the New Jersey Globe’s invitation to debate on October 18 represents apathy toward is constituents.

“Our constituents deserve to hear directly from us, LD-25 residents need to come first. Bucco Junior’s lack of response only mirror’s his actions in Trenton,” Mehta said.  “I will always face our district’s challenges head on. This November, you have the choice to vote for sensible leadership.”

Bucco was named to the Senate seat in October 2019, four weeks after his father, longtime State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco, died of a massive heart attack.  Anthony M. Bucco was re-elected to the State Assembly while serving in the Senate, but has not yet faced voters as a candidate for State Senator.

The NJ Globe added a Senate debate eight days ago.  Mehta has accepted, and Bucco has not yet indicated that he would participate.  The NJ Globe has been in contact with both campaigns.

In organizing forums for Congress and the legislature, the NJ Globe has determined that debates will take place as long as one candidate accepts the invitation.  In the event that a candidate is forced to debate alone, an empty chair will occupy the spot they would have occupied virtually.

In the interest of fairness to the voters and the candidates, the New Jersey Globe has set a hard deadline of Tuesday October 13 for Mr. Bucco to accept or reject the invitation to debate.

Incumbent House members seeking re-election in other hotly-contested races have been participating in debates.

The winner of the special election will fill the remaining 14 months of the late senator’s term.

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