Legislative District 9 Debates - 2013

 This article was originally published online on August 23, 2013 by The Atlantic City Press.

 The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and the Press of Atlantic City sponsored three public debates this fall for legislative races covering Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Ocean counties.

 "Candidate debates are essential to civic engagement. They give the voting public an opportunity to hear directly from both major party candidates," said Hughes Center Executive Director Dan Douglas.

 The final debate, with candidates from District 9 – composed of parts of Atlantic, Burlington, and Ocean counties – took place on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in the Campus Center Theatre at Stockton’s main Galloway campus.

 State Sen. Christopher Connors, the Republican incumbent, faced Democratic challenger Anthony Mazzella, a former director at the Department of Treasury; while Republican Assembly members DiAnne Gove and Brian Rumpf debated Democratic candidates Peter Ferwerda III, a retired municipal and civil engineer, and Christopher McManus, a Stockton Honors Program student in business studies.

 All the debates started with state Senate candidates, followed by candidates for the Assembly. The format allowed for two-minute opening statements by each candidate, followed by an approximately one-hour question-and-answer session on each race, with a moderator and panel from the Hughes Center and the Press, and for a one-minute rebuttal from any candidate after each answer; candidates had a one-minute closing statement as well.

"The Hughes Center is pleased that the Republicans and Democrats from each of the three districts have agreed to the debates,” Douglas said.