BOSTON (CBS) – Believe it or not, Election Day is exactly four weeks from today, and that means it’s debate season here at WBZ-TV. Tonight at 8 here on CBSBoston.com and on myTV38, you have your first chance to assess the two candidates for governor, Republican incumbent Charlie Baker and his Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez, as they meet in their first debate.

For Baker, it’s a major step toward a second term after he narrowly beat then-Attorney General Martha Coakley four years ago. Since then he has been consistently ranked as the nation’s most popular governor, and he comes into this re-election year with sky-high job-approval ratings boosted by the booming state economy.

But anytime an incumbent is on the ballot, it’s in part a referendum on their record, the positives and the negatives. Baker will likely come under fire from his opponent for the performance of the MBTA and commuter rail, the State Police overtime scandal, and the alleged underfunding of public education.

baker gonzalez Keller @ Large: Why You Should Watch The Governors Debate

Gov. Charlie Baker and Jay Gonzalez. (WBZ-TV)

Gonzalez faces a two-pronged challenge – bringing the heat to Baker while making a positive first impression on voters who don’t have any idea who he is. As a former cabinet official under Governor Deval Patrick, Gonzalez may face return fire from Baker over the Patrick-era track record.

But while the polls show Baker with a comfortable early lead, Gonzalez may have some wind at his back in the form of voter outrage over the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation. One way or another, for voters who want to make an informed choice in November this is must-see TV. Hope to see you tonight at 8.

Your comments are always welcome here, via email at keller@wbztv.com, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

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