NJ Commission May Bar Candidates With Money Advantage From Gov. Debates
It turns out Doug Forrester could be shut out of New Jersey’s Republican primary election debates because he is not accepting public financing for his campaign for governor. The Election Law Enforcement Commission members are deadlocked 2-2 on whether to permit Forrester to participate in two televised debates in May.
One commissioner “expressed concern that Forrester's participation could give him an unfair edge over those with less money to buy television and radio air time.”
The commission on Tuesday did approve two requests to host Republican primary debates, one from the League of Women Voters of New Jersey Education Fund, and one from New Jersey Network.This has to be one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever heard. Who knew you had to get permission from the government to hold a debate on TV. And that bit about Forrester’s money giving him an unfair advantage is really over the top.
Forrester, considered among the GOP front-runners, said he expects to prevail because he's "always assumed the purpose of the law is to promote discussion and to include candidates."
The commission plans to meet again April 13 to reconsider the matter.
Perhaps this is just another Corzine campaign strategy - push the Democrat controlled Election Law Enforcement Commission to bar participation of candidates with a huge money advantage from debates. Clever, no? It prevents the potential Republican gubernatorial nominee from receiving television and radio exposure and provides Corzine with cover for avoiding debates with a Republican challenger.