NYC mayoral candidates Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa to face off in debate

Candidates will appear in two televised debates before general election on 2 November

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 20 October 2021 21:32
Eric Adams celebrates winning NYC mayor primary by getting ear pierced

The leading Democratic and Republican candidates running for New York City’s next mayor will appear in the first of two planned debates ahead of the general election on 2 November.

Democrat Eric Adams – a Brooklyn borough president, former state legislator and retired New York City Police Department captain – defeated Democratic primary candidates in the city’s first-ever ranked-choice election and is favoured to win the general election in the largely Democratic city. He will be the city’s second-ever Black mayor, if elected.

Curtis Sliwa – somewhat of a New York institution, as a radio personality and founder of the controversial Guardian Angels volunteer subway patrol – is the long-shot Republican candidate.

The two men appear in two scheduled hour-long televised debates this month ahead of election day, as required by the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Candidates will join a debate at 7pm EST on Wednesday, 20 October airing on WNBC-TV and Telemundo. They also will debate at 7pm EST on Tuesday, 26 October on WNBC-TV.

The issues of police reform, crime and public safety have dominated the campaigns to replace outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Mr Sliwa has continued an enthusiastic bid against his well-financed Democratic rival, whom Mr Sliwa has criticised as out of touch with working-class residents as he has tried to drum up media attention for his skeletal campaign, largely run by Mr Sliwa himself.

Mr Adams has cast his opponent’s campaign as fundamentally unserious, and has promoted a campaign focused around issues of gun violence, housing and flood resilience.

Following his decades with the Guardian Angels, which has been accused of targeting Black and brown New Yorkers, Mr Sliwa’s campaign is largely concerned with combatting crime and supporting police while relying on the “broken windows” theory towards policing that has been largely abandoned by criminal justice advocates.

He has also promoted a sweeping animal welfare platform and a universal basic income pilot programme with spending tracked by the city.

Mr Adams – whose campaign war chest has amassed millions of dollars – has sought to straddle an agenda that would address systemic injustice and poverty with a “tough on crime” approach. He has pledged to tackle gun violence on his first day in office and promised to appoint a woman as the city’s police commissioner.

He also has faced ongoing skepticism about his residency – whether he lives in Brooklyn or New Jersey – and has been accused of mounting a “sexist smear campaign” against another police officer while he was on the force.

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