(CNN) - With four weeks to go until Election Day, Gov. Chris Christie's Democratic challenger gets the chance Tuesday to face off with the overwhelming frontrunner in the Garden State gubernatorial campaign.
Christie and Democratic State Sen. Barabara Buono will meet on the same stage at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, for the first of two debates leading up to the November 5 election.
With the tough-talking governor continuing to hold very large leads over Buono in public opinion polling (in a state where Democratic voters greatly outnumber their Republican counterparts), the two face-to-face showdowns give Buono rare opportunities to try and gain some ground against the popular Republican incumbent.
Tuesday evening's one-hour debate will be broadcast on local TV in New York City and Philadelphia. Combined, the two large television markets blanket almost the entire state of New Jersey. The second debate is scheduled for October 15.
Earlier this year Christie claimed that "Barbara Buono's worst days of the campaign will be the days that I debate her."
–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.