The following is an excerpt from NJ Spotlight originally published May 2, 2017
The first forum of the campaign season featured all six Democrats hopefuls for their party’s gubernatorial nomination: frontrunner Phil Murphy, Assemblyman John Wisniewski of Middlesex County, Sen. Raymond Lesniak of Union County, former federal treasury official Jim Johnson, Tenafly Councilman Mark Zinna, and Bill Brennan of Wayne Also in attendance were Republicans Steve Rogers and Hirsh Singh and Green Party nominee Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, who won’t appear on the primary ballot.
Not attending were three Republicans: Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli of Somerset County, and Joseph “Rudy” Rullo.
Billed not as a debate, but as a “conversation about social justice,” the candidates sat in chairs for the two-hour event until questioned, then walked around the stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark with a microphone to answer, as in a town hall-style event.
The evening was sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference and featured four questions on the issue of social justice.