Mayor Bill de Blasio is the Democratic frontrunner in the upcoming mayoral election both in the polls and fundraising.
On Thursday, the incumbent candidate not only secured more than $2.5 million in city funds for his reelection campaign, he also agreed to debate his fellow candidates even if they do not qualify under rules put in place by the Campaign Finance Board.
“Looking forward to a primary debate,” the mayor wrote on his campaign Twitter account. “We’re committed to CFB process, but people deserve to hear from us no matter what about vision for NYC.”
A second tweet reiterated that, with de Blasio writing, “I’ll be on a debate stage before the Sept. 12th primary.”
Looking forward to a primary debate. We're committed to CFB process, but people deserve to hear from us no matter what about vision for NYC.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 3, 2017
Regardless of CFB requirements, I'll be on a debate stage before the Sept 12th primary.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 3, 2017
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Yesterday, the mayor said participating in a debate “is simply a statement of principle. The details have to be worked out by the campaign team,” he said, according to The New York Times.
Just last month, the mayor was noncommittal about participating in a debate during an interview with NY1, saying then that he would “cross that bridge” as the Aug. 11 deadline for CFB funding neared.
For a CFB mayoral debate to occur — and for candidates to qualify for funding through board — they need to raise and spend $175,000 of campaign contributions.
Former City Councilman Sal Albanese, who called the mayor’s debate announcement “outrageous,” has raised more than $124,000 in donations as of Thursday, according to the New York Daily News, and told the Times he thinks he will make the CFB requirement.
Another Democratic contender, police reformer Robert Gangi, told the Times that “there’s no way” his campaign will hit the CFB’s required funding mark, “which is another reason why we were appreciative” de Blasio agreed to a debate.
If he was unable to face the incumbent candidate, Gangi said he would debate a stick wearing a Boston Red Sox hat as the mayor is a longtime fan of the MLB team.