ATLANTIC CITY – The William H. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University will host a debate among New Jersey Assembly candidates in Legislative District 2 Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The one-hour debate will start at 6 p.m. in the Fannie Lou Hamer Room of the Stockton Academic Center, 3711 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City. The forum is free and open to the public.

Candidates agreeing to participate in the debate include Democrat incumbents Vincent Mazzeo and John Armato, and Republican challengers Philip Guenther, a former Brigantine mayor, and Atlantic County Freeholder-at-large John Risley.

John Froonjian, interim executive director of the Hughes Center, will moderate the debate. The event is being co-sponsored by The Press of Atlantic City, which will provide representative to serve as a panelist.

Members of the public and Stockton University students and staff are encouraged to propose questions that may be asked of the candidate during the debate. Suggested questions can be emailed to or by midnight Oct. 15. Please use the subject line: “2nd District debate question.”

The 2nd District has featured some of the most competitive – and expensive – legislative races in New Jersey going back decades. The district’s voters don’t simply vote the party line, Froonjian said.

“In most New Jersey districts, one party controls both the Senate and Assembly seats for years at a time. Legislative representation in the 2nd District has been split between Democrats and Republicans in 10 of the last 15 legislative terms,” Froonjian said. “That split reflects the competitive nature of the district.”

Froonjian said candidate debates allow voters to evaluate the candidates’ positions and leadership qualities, providing valuable information on which voters can make informed choices.

Partisan campaigning is not allowed on state property. No signage will be allowed inside or outside the campus. Members of the public who attend the debate will not be allowed to enter the premises with campaign signs, hats, buttons, T-shirts or any materials with election messages.

Stockton University Atlantic City Academic building.

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