With less than a week to go before New York’s primary election, Sal Albanese will face incumbent Bill de Blasio in the second and final Democratic mayoral debate on Wednesday.
The debate will be held at CUNY’s Graduate Center Studio (365 5th Ave.) and gets underway at 7 p.m. It will be broadcast on CBS2, WLNY-TV 10/55, 1010WINS and NewsRadio 880. A live stream will be available at newyork.cbslocal.com.
There are three other Democratic candidates — attorney Richard Bashner, police reform advocate Robert Gangi and entrepreneur Michael Tolkin — but only de Blasio and Albanese are able to participate in the debate due to the requirements of the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB).
A statement from Tokin on Tuesday, however, indicated that he met the CFB obligations for spending, fundraising and media exposure needed to take part in the final debate. The 32-year-old candidate then urged the debate sponsors to allow him to appear on stage next to Albanese and de Blasio.
“Despite the Campaign Finance Board fully qualifying me for today’s debate — on the basis of having achieved ‘significant media exposure’ — the media sponsors have once again chosen not to include me,” he told Metro via email. “Their decision is deeply undemocratic and grossly unfair — we have fulfilled every requirement asked of us. Ignoring the CFB’s ruling and excluding a legitimate candidate from yet another primary debate is a slap in the face to the many New Yorkers who support the movement we represent. These are the very voters that already feel disenfranchised and neglected by our government.
“Make no mistake: This is an outrageous and morally reprehensible overreach by the media to play ‘kingmaker’ and arbitrarily remove viable opposition to Mayor de Blasio,” he added. “This is a clear violation of our democracy and the rights of New Yorkers to have a fair and representative election.”
During the first debate, which was held Aug. 23, de Blasio and Albanese sparred over housing, transit and more, but found rare common ground in their opposition of President Donald Trump.
Albanese attacked de Blasio on several issues, which the mayor rebutted by highlighting his past four years in office, namely the city’s low crime rate and initiatives for affordable housing and education. Albanese only briefly touched on his action plans for the city if he is elected, something he plans to focus more on tonight.
“One of the things I want to do is talk a little bit more about my vision for our city and my proposals,” he told the New York Daily News, adding that he will also talk about his past as a child immigrant and City Councilman as well. “People want to size you up and know what’s your experience. I don’t think I did enough of that job in the first debate.”
New Yorkers will likely see de Blasio give a similar performance to the first debate, with his campaign telling the Daily News that “he’s happy for an opportunity to talk about his record of results making New York City stronger, fairer and more affordable for all.”
The primary is Tuesday. The general election mayoral debate will take place Oct. 10, with the leading contenders meeting for the second and final time on Nov. 1.
The general election is Nov. 7.