Forrester Denied Chance to Debate Pawlowski

Well, this is kind of insane. Now we have a major party candidate trying to debate Pawlowski, and someone is trying to block that! The debate over the New Jersey gubernatorial debates continues to rage…

From NY Newsday:

The Republican running for governor was looking to score points by announcing he would be in two state-sponsored candidate debates, while his opponent would not.

But GOP candidate Doug Forrester wasn’t invited to one of the events.

NJN public television said its Oct. 20 debate is for two sanctioned independent candidates only, and that the two leading contenders, Forrester and Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine, already had their turn.

NJN hosted a live televised debate between Forrester and Corzine Tuesday night, which the station said was seen by 50,000 viewers. That forum excluded Libertarian Party candidate Jeffrey Pawlowski, who had unsuccessfully challenged the station in court to let him debate. NJN agreed to host a second event, for Pawlowski and independent candidate Hector Castillo, on Oct. 20.

“The other candidates are not invited to participate,” NJN marketing director JoAnne Ruscio said. “This is an Election Law Enforcement Commission-sponsored debate with ELEC-sanctioned candidates.”

Asked about the inconsistency, Forrester campaign spokeswoman Sherry Sylvester said, “I talked to NJN about doing an official debate for them, so I’m assuming we’re invited.”

“I can’t believe that if you called NJN and said Doug Forrester and Jon Corzine wanted to be in the debate, they would say no.”

NJN reiterated its position Friday.

The exclusion of Forrester and Corzine angered Pawlowski, who threatened another legal challenge to state-funded NJN.

“We think this is a travesty that a publicly funded television station is using taxpayer dollars to limit the choices of the people of New Jersey,” campaign spokesman Jay Boucher said.

“They promoted the big game with the headliners, then they’re going to have a Little League game with the rest of us.”

Before hearing that Forrester wasn’t invited to the Oct. 20 debate, Sylvester wrote a politically charged letter to the Corzine camp urging the Democrat to participate in that debate and an Oct. 18 debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Corzine spokesman Allyn Brooks-LaSure said the Democrat already agreed to debate Forrester on Oct. 18. Pawlowski and Castillo also have been invited.

“NJN can learn something from the League of Women Voters, who invited the four qualified candidates to debate,” Boucher said. “We encourage everyone to protest NJN for their abuse of editorial privilege.”

Candidates who accept public financing are required to participate in ELEC debates. But Forrester and Corzine, both multimillionaires, are self-financing their campaigns and are therefore exempt.

Amy Davis, ELEC’s public financing director, said only Castillo is required to debate in the ELEC-sanctioned events because he has received $404,900 in public financing. Pawlowski is recognized by ELEC as a candidate though he did not qualify for public funds.

Forrester fought his way into ELEC debates during the seven-way Republican gubernatorial spring primary after hiring a lawyer to make his case that privately financed candidates should not be excluded from debating their opponents. ELEC agreed to allow Forrester to take part.

“Our point is that the spirit of ELEC’s regulations is that New Jerseyans deserve a debate,” Sylvester said. “Even the privately financed candidates can and should participate in the ELEC debates.”

16 Responses to “Forrester Denied Chance to Debate Pawlowski”

  1. Big Sexy Says:

    But there will still be a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, that all 4 candidates will be in right?

  2. Jay Edgar Says:

    Yes, Jeff will debate Correster & Forzine on Oct. 18th at thr League of Women Voter debate.

  3. George Whitfield Says:

    Congratulations New Jersey Libertarians and Jeff Pawlowski for making the effort and persisting.

  4. Amani S. Says:

    Only in NJ.
    The thing is you never know what will be next.

  5. Brian J. Phillps Says:

    Well as has been posted here befrore the situation in NJ regarding “debates” gets more confusing day by day. However, the duopoly candidates are under no legal obligation to debate the two minor party candidatres that barely qualified under NJ ELECT rules. Where is the advantage to them to do so? There is none.

    Here is a candidate (Green) denied access to the debates yet he posed answers to the questions raised:


    Green Party gubernatorial candidate Matt Thieke was at NJN studios in Trenton this past Tuesday for the first two-parties-only candidate debate and was denied entry into the event. Thieke criticized the exclusionary debate as a “pay to play event”, and gave his replies to the questions that were asked of Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester.

    Sept. 23, 2005

    Contact: Matt Thieke, 609-330-6552, [email protected]


    Green Party gubernatorial candidate Matt Thieke was at NJN studios in Trenton this past Tuesday for the first two-parties-only candidate debate and was denied entry into the event. Thieke criticized the exclusionary debate as a “pay to play event”, and gave his replies to the questions that were asked of Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester.

    Thieke issued the following statement: “If New Jersey Network and the other sponsors of this debate had seen fit to include me, here are the answers I would’ve given to the questions posed by the panelists:”

    “The first question was does Jon Corzine’s gift of over $450,000 to Carla Katz create a conflict of interest? My reply is YES. While a candidate’s personal relationships should not be an issue, when you give almost half a million dollars to the head of the largest state workers union, it is a gross error in judgment and if the Senator doesn’t realize that creates at least the appearance of a conflict, then that shows just how disconnected he is from the lives of ordinary people.”

    “Question 2 asked Doug Forrester about his Benecard company benefiting from ‘pay to play’ contracts.
    My reply: We can’t trust Doug Forrester to clean up corruption and pay to play when he himself has benefited from it. And it’s ludicrous to hear him say he’s followed the ‘spirit and letter of the law’ when his so-called out-of-state insurance company is nothing more than a post office box in Washington D.C.”

    “Question 3 asked would I use an executive order to ban the use of eminent domain.
    My reply: YES, immediately. We need a law to ban the use of eminent domain for private development projects.”

    “Question 4 asked Doug Forrester to explain how he’d pay for his property tax plan.
    My reply: Good question! My proposal for tax reform includes replacing the school property tax with a more progressive state income tax, combined with merging the hundreds of smaller school districts into regional districts, a massive conversion to solar, wind and clean vehicle fuels, and cutting out patronage.”

    “Question 5 asked about the amount of borrowing done by the state government.
    My reply: Both Democrats and Republicans have been continually guilty of “borrow and spend” policies. We are now in debt to the tune of about $3000 for every man, woman and child in New Jersey! The Green Party believes in fiscal responsibility, which means we can’t borrow to balance the budget. Borrowing via bond issues should only be done for long-term capital projects, like our proposal to convert to cheaper, cleaner energy sources like solar, wind, and bio-fuels.”

    “Question 6 was would I pledge to never raise taxes?
    My reply: No. That’s a very irresponsible stand. There could always be another 9/11 type emergency, or economic disaster that could happen.”

    “Question 7 asked should we lease the Turnpike?
    My reply: No. The Green Party is opposed to the increased privatization of public property. My administration will cut spending by saving on energy costs, and cutting out the abuses of patronage and corruption. Leasing is another short-term revenue gimmick.”

    “Questions 8 and 9 asked if Jon Corzine’s ties to certain Democrats and Doug Forrester’s contributions to various Republicans should be something for voters to think about.
    My reply: YES! Both these men are members of corrupt parties and can’t be trusted to bring about any kind of real reform. The Democratic and Republican parties both put party loyalty first above the public interest. Even though Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester are both multi-millionaires, neither of them could rise to the top of their party without ‘playing ball’ and turning a blind eye to the corruption in their midst. The Green Party and I have zero tolerance for corruption. We don’t operate the way the two parties do.”

    “Question 10 asked if Atlantic City has been helped by legalized gambling.
    My reply: No, not much. The casino companies and their investors have benefited the most, while the people of Atlantic City haven’t. I’m not against companies making a fair profit, but the casinos can give more back to the people. We need a thorough audit to investigate where the money is going, and the CRDA should focus on providing better jobs and housing for the people of Atlantic City.”

    “Question 11 asked Doug Forrester if his ‘30 in 3’ plan is just a gimmick.
    My reply: Yes, it is. He doesn’t say where the money will come from other than by ‘cutting waste and corruption’. I agree there’s plenty of waste to cut, but I don’t believe he can do it. He’d have to take on the bosses of his own party. Frankly, the only Republican in New Jersey that I see doing anything about corruption is Chris Christie, and he’s not running.”

    “Question 12 asked Jon Corzine why he couldn’t come up with something better than a property tax rebate.
    My reply: Because he doesn’t want to rock the boat and thinks he can win this election without any bold ideas. I’ve already said that I’d like to replace the local school property tax with the state income tax, so people pay what they’re able to pay and aren’t forced out of their homes. And we’d cut costs by merging and regionalizing school districts.”

    “Question 13 asked about gay marriage.
    My reply: The Green Party and I support gay marriage. Gay couples should have all of the same rights and benefits that heterosexual couples do.”

    “Question 14 asked the candidates if they’d ask for the resignation of all current political appointees in state government.
    My reply: Yes, absolutely! Every position will be looked at, and I’ll only keep those who are qualified for their jobs, and who are honest and non-partisan.”

    “Question 15 asked the candidates what they’d do if a jet crashed into the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.
    My reply: Say a quick prayer for the thousands of people who are about to die from radiation. If there’s any large release of radiation from either Oyster Creek or the Salem plants, tens of thousands of New Jerseyans will likely die. There won’t be enough time to evacuate in that example. That’s one reason why we have to shut down these nuclear plants. We have to switch to renewable energy like solar and wind power.”

    “Question 16 asked about embryonic stem cell research.
    My reply: The Green Party and I support embryonic and adult stem cell research. Jon Corzine wants to spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars on this. I’d also like to. However, I’m not sure we can afford this given the state’s current level of debt. Before spending tax money, I’d like to see the pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street invest their money in this good cause.”

    “Question 17 was about the money wasted by the School Construction Corporation.
    My reply: The SCC should be dismantled. What happened was criminal and I’d like to see some indictments. The problem was that the state created a corporation. And it worked just like a corporation—like Enron. If contractors over-charged the SCC for work, I want those contractors to pay the money back before they ever get another dime of taxpayer money.”

    “Question 18 asked Doug Forrester if there would be enough money for programs for the disabled, and for DYFS.
    My reply: There will be in a Green Party administration. The main problem at DYFS is that there aren’t enough case workers to handle the load. Children won’t slip through the cracks if we give DYFS the resources it needs to hire more investigators, provide better training, and pay wages comparable to the private sector. For the disabled, we need to strongly enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

    “Question 19 asked about banning smoking indoors.
    My reply: The Green Party and I support a ban on indoor smoking. It’s a matter of public health.”

    “Question 20 asked the candidates if they support a bear hunt.
    My reply: No, I do not. I don’t believe we can’t come up with a workable program of contraception or sterilization. And, if necessary, I’d rather see us capture and transport bears to more remote areas than to kill them. The bears aren’t taking over our habitat. We’re taking over theirs every time we bulldoze another forest or farm to build more sprawl.”

    “In conclusion, I hope that my answers show that I am running a serious campaign on the issues, and that I have earned the right to take part in any future debates. I challenge Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester, again, to please explain why I should not be allowed to debate them.”

    We have not seen such statements from some other candidates….have we? Nor shall we probally see the same so dont hold your breath!

    Elections are won on adressing issues and campaigning not upon gimmicks and tricks. Despite three decades of effort some so-called “political parties” in NJ just dont get it.

  6. Jack Boot Says:

    You are planning to infiltrate the Greens now?

  7. Brian J. Phillps Says:

    Nope….are you? Afraid to use you real name? At least the Greens and even Latigona, the independent, are addressing issues rather than using circus tactics and gimmicks. Check out their campaign webs and compare…then come back and post under your real name.

  8. Brian J. Phillps Says:

    PS: At least the Greens are not neo-con infested as is the LP. The Greens oppose the wars in Mid-East without question and unconstitutional homeland security measures such as PATRIOT-I and II.

    The Libertarian Party has forgotten its roots and that it was founded in 60’s and opposed the Vietnam war without question. Now it makes excuses for military adventures and the violation of civil liberties for the sake of homeland security.

  9. Jay Edgar Says:

    You are one to talk about using your real name. You’ve posted as NJLib, Patrick Henry and Don King. (while I’m not Jack Boot, I’m just as guilty I posted using a pseudonym in the past).

    Brian, could you be more specific. What excuses? and what violations of civil liberties are you talking about? I haven’t met a Libertarian who doesn’t oppose the war but I think I remember some letters to the editor in the National LP News. What in the world are you talking about?

  10. Brian J. Phillps Says:

    Well Jay you posted under my name….using my name and without my permission. Correct? Shameful and unprincipled conduct for an NJLP officer and a campaign manager. I am not in the same position as you and one would expect more from you given the positions you hold.

    Well Jay I have met some former NJLP candidates who ran for Congress who supported both the wars in Mid-East and the PATRIOT acts. Were you asleep at the last NJLP convention or just in a trance? I believe that the current NJLP candidate for guv also stated at the convention that some homeland security measures were “reasonable.”

  11. Brian J. Phillps Says:

    PS…..You mean that I am not also R. Paul??????? I really doubt that the I am the ONLY one who has a critique of the NJLP!

  12. Jay Edgar Says:

    No, I now know exactly who R. Paul is.

    At the convention you misquoted your opponents to make them appear to support the war, but if you read the actual quotes you were trying to use it was obvious that they did not support the war (nor the patriot act).

    I’m not sure I disagree with “some homeland security measures were reasonable.” It all depends on what those measures are. Certainly if the military and or police have reasonable evidence that an attack is going to take place I would hope that they do take reasonable measures. National security is clearly a consititutional role of the federal government. As long as the US Constitution and due process is being abided by I don’t have a problem with Jeff’s statement (as you believe it was made).

    Again you are taking a snippet of a statement and trying to use it against someone.

  13. Brian J. Phillps Says:

    I stand by all I have said and retract none of it. Anyway we are off topic!

  14. Amani S. Says:

    ok, back on subject.
    There is an advange to debating.
    Corzine, first says he won’t. So Forrester says he will. He is taking the high ground. “See I have nothing to hide.”
    Plus he gets more coverage.

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