Three of the contenders in the Connecticut governor’s race will debate at the University of Connecticut at Jorgensen Theater on Wednesday night at 7 p.m
Ned Lamont (D), Bob Stefanowski (R) and Oz Griebel (I) will be partaking in the debate.
Griebel was recently granted permission to participate after being excluded from the prior two debates because Griebel failed to reach the 10 percent threshold in public opinion polls for the governor’s race, according to the Hartford Courant.
This time, Griebel was granted permission to join the debate by WFSB Channel 3, who will be hosting.
The debate is only open to UConn students, faculty and staff.
UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in an email that WFSB has the ultimate choice over debate participants, audience and format, but that the university suggested tickets be limited to UConn employees and students.
“With the debate being televised live, the decision doesn’t limit the general public from viewing the event in real time,” Reitz said.
Reitz also said the decision was also made based on convenience in regard to ticket sales and security.
“It streamlines the ticketing and security processes to be able to confirm a person’s identification with their UConn ID card at the door,” Reitz said. “And to be able to identify and hold accountable anyone who is disruptive.”
Max Turgeon, a third-semester finance major and vice president of UConn College Republicans, said he is very excited for the debate to come to UConn.
“The debate gives the students a close-up view of the process of the election,” Turgeon said. “Hopefully it’ll get some energy behind it, get people turned out to vote, or even get people involved in some of the campaigns.”
Stephanie Goebel, a seventh-semester political science major and president of UConn College Democrats, said the debate will have a significant impact on the university as a whole.
“I’m excited for the candidates to be able to address the UConn community on its own and speak to the unique concerns of students,” Goebel said. “While college students in Connecticut do face similar problems, I think that a large majority of the UConn budget is based on what the governor decides.”
Both Turgeon and Goebel discussed the concept of the debate being open to UConn students, faculty and staff only.
“I don’t think it’s a terrible thing; I kinda lean on having it open to anyone,” Turgeon said. “But at the same time, it’s kind of good thing to get students involved, so I think it depends on how you look at it.”
Goebel said she had mixed feelings on the matter.
“While I think that it’s great that the UConn community is being given this privilege of being able to talk to the candidates individually, I think that it’s a little exclusionary to the surrounding communities,” Goebel said. “This is one of the only debates to happen in this part of the state.”