The hottest midterm race in New Jersey, if not in the country, will see its first debate Thursday morning, and it’s sold out.

In New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District, incumbent Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) is facing challenger Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) in a rematch of the 2020 race that the Democrat won by less than a percentage point. But now, the district’s boundaries have been redrawn to include an extra 30,000 registered Republicans. If Kean Jr. is able to win the seat, he could help tip the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the first debate is also drawing interest because Kean Jr. has conducted few interviews with the press, and hasn’t held many events that were publicized in advance.

In fact, the Malinowski campaign said it has accepted four debate or forum requests that Kean Jr. hasn’t agreed to.

Thursday’s debate will be held by the Gateway Chamber of Commerce and will focus on inflation and the economy. Even though it is sold out, both C-SPAN and the chamber plan to stream it live. The program starts at 8:30 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski's campaign sent out a press release with this image, lampooning challenger Tom Kean Jr. for holding few public appearances and declining repeated media requests for interviews.

It'll be a rare chance to for voters to hear Kean address questions, as he's declined most interview requests, including several from WNYC/Gothamist, which prompted the Malinowski campaign to send out a press release saying Kean Jr. is “missing” — with his picture on a milk carton. The two candidates also appeared one at a time, answering the same questions as one another, at a forum earlier this month.

The Kean campaign said its candidate spends plenty of time with the public, but doesn’t want to do press interviews because the campaign doesn’t think it gets fair treatment. Kean’s father, former Gov. Tom Kean Sr., was asked about it during a NJ PBS interview.

Kean Sr. told David Cruz, host of the NJ PBS show "Reporters Roundtable," that his son really only boycotts Tom Moran at the Star-Ledger, and the former governor accused Moran of printing inaccuracies about his son.

Moran responded in a column that called the remark a sucker punch, one from a former governor he deeply respected. He said Kean Jr. had never asked for a correction for anything incorrect in his columns.

“I reach out to Kean Jr. every time I write about him. It’s a rule. So it’s flatly untrue that Kean Jr. has had no chance to offer his side of every story,” Moran wrote. “I checked this morning, and counted 33 emails I sent to the campaign during this campaign and the 2020 run. Kean never accepted a single invitation to speak with me.”