For only the second time in New Jersey history, voters will be choosing a lieutenant governor this fall. And the two candidates vying for that title, incumbent Kim Guadagno and challenger Milly Silva, will debate each other at Kean University’s Wilkins Theater on Friday night, Oct. 11, beginning at 7 p.m.
The University, along with its media partner, News 12, was awarded the debate after an intense competition that included a number of college and universities in New Jersey. The University’s application was sponsored by the Kean University Center for History, Politics, and Policy.
“We will be delighted to welcome the two candidates, their guests, the community and, of course, our students, to this important event,” said Dr. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University.
Dr. Farahi noted that Kean had a presence in the lieutenant governor’s campaign four years ago. Dr. Frank J. Esposito, a distinguished professor of history and former acting president of Kean, ran for lieutenant governor on a third-party ticket with gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett. The Daggett-Esposito team was credited with bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the 2009 campaign.
Before 2009, the office of lieutenant governor did not exist in New Jersey.
This year’s debate figures to generate extra attention because of speculation that incumbent Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, may run for president in 2016 if he wins re-election in November. If Christie leaves office early, Lieutenant Governor Guadagno would automatically succeed him.
“Of course, we don’t know if the Christie-Guadagno team will be victorious this year,” said Dr. Terry Golway, director of the Kean Center for History, Politics, and Policy. “But the press will be treating the lieutenant governor as if she were a potential governor in waiting. So they’ll be watching closely as she spars with Ms. Silva, who is a relative newcomer to campaign politics.”
The debate is open to the public and is free, but tickets will be required. For more information, call the Kean Center for History, Politics and Policy at 908-737-0583.
Students, staff and faculty who will be on campus on the afternoon or evening of Oct. 11 should be aware that special parking regulations will be in effect.