How to Watch and What to Expect in New York Mayor’s Final Debate


New York’s top eight mayoral candidates will take part in a final televised debate Wednesday night to be hosted by WNBC, marking a last chance for voters to see the candidates in attendance and discuss some of the pressing issues facing the city.

The fourth town hall debate, which begins at 7 p.m., comes just six days before the June 22 primary. Early voting began on Saturday and will last until Sunday.

The debate, which was hosted by the city’s Campaign Finance Board, was initially only scheduled to last an hour, but last week the network announced it would expand the event to two hours. The participants are: Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang.

How to watch it

WNBC will broadcast the first hour on Channel 4, starting at 7 p.m. (at 8 p.m. it will only be available for streaming). Viewers can also watch on WNBC’s digital platforms, including, the NBC 4 app as well as their Apple TV and Roku channels. Television of life in New York, channel 25.1, and the Spanish network Telemundo Channel 47 will also broadcast the full debate.

For those with cable, here are the channels from NYC Life TV:
Spectrum, FiOs, RCN, DirecTV and Dish – 25
Optimal | Altice – 22
Comcast – 1025

The moderators of the debate will be David Ushery and Melissa Russo of WNBC, Allan Villafana of Telemundo 47, the presenter of Telemundo 47 and Sally Goldenberg of Politico.

Here are some things to watch out for as the candidates step onto the debate podium for the last time.

2 hours with 8 candidates in the home stretch means things could get tricky

Last week’s WCBS debate was relatively tightly controlled affair which nevertheless still featured a lot of interesting and unexpected moments. But this debate had the advantage of lasting only one hour with five candidates. The return to a longer format with eight candidates, several of whom have not hit double digits in recent polls, could potentially lead to a lot of interjections, attacks and discussions between candidates.

“It will probably be more chaotic because the candidates will not be able to control themselves,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran political consultant. “They are fighting for their lives.

David Birdsell, dean of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, also said he expected a “loud” debate.

He said the widening of the field made it difficult for voters to come close to the favorites. It does, however, give viewers the opportunity to develop their relative preferences in the context of choice voting. “Having said that,” he added, “you’re not going to rank eight.”

Perceived favorites are likely to be making aggressive maneuvers, but Birdsell said lower-level contenders – Donovan, McGuire and Morales – could also try to capture the moment as best they can.

“If you know you’re going to lose, why not drop some bombs and see what happens?” he said.

Garcia arrives with a surge

Garcia, the city’s former sanitation commissioner who was once considered a dark horse, has gained momentum with each passing week since gaining approval from the New York Times. A Marist survey released on Monday showed Adams leading with 24% support among likely voters, followed by Garcia with 17%. But another new poll showed Garcia was winning via RCV:

Prior to that, a Friday fundraiser update by the city’s campaign fundraising committee found that Garcia had raised $ 703,000 between May 18 and June 7, more than any other. candidate, including Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President who raised $ 618,000.

“When I decided to run, many people told me that commissioners don’t become mayors and that I could never fundraise. Opponents and friends have said that I should try to be hired by the next mayor instead of running for the next mayor. , she said in a statement. “But make no mistake: this woman can and will win.”

In another demonstration of her growing status, Adams summoned a group of sanitation workers on Monday who argued that Garcia had overseen a pay gap between women and minority workers in the sanitation department.

Garcia, however, brushed off the allegations, saying she had increased minority and department leaders by 50% and would go further as mayor.

She also managed to get into a to dig at Adams: “I’m happy to tell Eric about my track record, because I actually have one.” “

Entering the debate, Garcia will likely stay with the argument that got her this far: that she is the most competent person to run the city out of a crisis. This is a strategy that may leave some voters wanting more.

“I think Garcia’s big weakness is not projecting a rationale for a candidacy beyond skills,” Birdsell said. “Skill matters, but you mean what your skill will bring. “

Sheinkopf agreed, arguing that the epidemic of shootings had drastically changed the nature of racing.

“Often people in elections are not looking for managers, they are looking for heroes,” he said, adding: “It is difficult to make a manager heroic”.

One aspect of her candidacy that could make her heroic is becoming New York’s first female mayor. Garcia has leaned more and more into her gender in recent days, lifting it up during last week’s debate.

As she campaigned on the Upper East Side on Tuesday, several male voters approached her and told her they wanted a female mayor.

“I often hear that from men,” she said with a smile. “It’s kind of an aside, like I’m secretly telling you my secret thoughts that I want a wife.”

Adams will have to fend off more attacks

As the frontrunner, Adams has witnessed a wave of scrutiny and an intensification of attacks from his opponents, with the questions about his residence being the very first subject taken up during the debate last week.

Over the weekend, comments about the benefits of virtual learning that Adams made in a Zoom interview in February went viral.

“You could have a great teacher in one of our special secondary schools to teach three to four hundred students who are struggling in math, with the skillful way they are able to teach,” he said. .

With public school families unhappy with distance learning, the remark quickly sparked a torrent of criticism led by Yang and Wiley. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who supported Wiley, also weighed on twitter, accusing Adams of wanting to define schools to pay more for policing.

Adams, who did not say he would fund schools, responded by saying his comments were taken out of context. “It’s absurd online that I want distant classes of 400 people,” he said in a tweet. “I actually said we could have online seminars for HS students. The truth is I led the fight for face-to-face classes because I have a learning disability and I know that personal attention is the key. “

Together, the controversies suggest how the rivals tried to shift the conversation from public safety to questions of integrity and other political issues. Adams, a former police officer, has climbed in the polls as concerns about crime and shootings rise.

“They have to get Adams off the pedestal and try to make him look stupid,” Sheinkopf said. “They’re not going to attack him on crime, they’re going to attack him on skill and character.”

Can Wiley and Yang make any strong closing arguments?

Of the top-four contestants, Wiley and Yang face the greatest pressure to deliver winning debate performances. Polls suggest Wiley has gained momentum, while Yang has lost. The Marist poll placed Wiley, former councilor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, in third place, with 15 percent support, just two percentage points behind Garcia. Meanwhile, a Emerson College Survey last week put Wiley in second place, following Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement.

Over the weekend, his supporters, including AOC, packed Irving Plaza for a fundraiser featuring The Strokes, which was billed as the first full-capacity indoor concert in New York City.

Yang, meanwhile, fell to third place in the Emerson poll with 15% support. It is doing less well in the Marist poll, ranking fourth with 13% support. And one internal survey showed that Yang fell to second place after Adams. Previous internal polls had always shown Yang in the lead.

Asked about the polls on Tuesday, Yang said his internal poll showed it was “anyone’s race” and that he had the momentum.

Yang has often campaigned with jovial style and infectious energy, as evidenced by her carefree dancing on Sunday’s Puerto Rican Parade.

But in recent weeks, Yang has shown a sharper side with attacks on Adams and even Garcia, whom he endorsed as his second pick.

Experts say the former presidential candidate might be better off coming to himself in the final debate.

“He has to point out what has worked for him so far,” Sheinkopf said. “That he is part of the new generation who will save the city because they love the city and they don’t have a political agenda.”

He said that Wiley, on the other hand, must continue to make her case with progressives by showing that she is the candidate who can “end police abuse, invest our money in our communities instead and make New York the beacon of justice and opportunity. “

The former MSNBC commentator was adept at intervening and scoring quick points during debates. However, during the last debate, his reluctance to answer a hypothetical question as to whether she would consider removing guns from the NYPD has drawn criticism.

Birdsell argued that unlike Yang, a debate strategy of attacking opponents benefits Wiley and his program.

“She’s the rightly outraged fairness champion,” he said.

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