nytimes – New York primary debate rocked by last-minute change

Marcia Kramer is CBS's chief political correspondent.
Credit…Mark Lennihan / Associated press

The moderators for tonight’s debate on WCBS-TV are, and rightly so, two of the station’s broadcast journalists: Marcia Kramer and Maurice DuBois.

Ms. Kramer, the channel’s chief political correspondent, has been a political reporter in New York for decades. Before moving to WCBS in 1990, she covered Albany and City Hall for the New York Daily News.

Ms. Kramer is known to ask direct questions of elected officials and politicians. Notably, in 1992, she asked then-candidate Bill Clinton about his marijuana use, which prompted his famous comment that he “hadn’t inhaled.”

She would later moderate a debate with Hillary Clinton during her successful 2000 candidacy for the US Senate, and she has interviewed candidates in debates in previous races for governor and mayor.

Credit…Bennett Raglin / Getty Images for the National Urban Technology Center

Mr. DuBois, presenter of WCBS-TV’s 5 pm and 11 pm TV news, has been a reporter in New York City since 1997. He has covered old national political conventions in addition to other local races.

With Ms. Kramer, Mr. DuBois moderated a heated debate in 2018 during the governor’s Democratic primary between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon.

nytimes - New York primary debate rocked by last-minute change

Shaun Donovan, the former Federal Housing Secretary, is one of three Democratic candidates to have participated in the previous debates but will not be on stage tonight.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Tonight’s debate will feature just five top Democrats running for mayor: Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, Scott M. Stringer, Maya D. Wiley and Andrew Yang.

Mr Adams had initially said he would not attend the debate, but changed his mind on Thursday.

Several other candidates who appeared in other debates were not invited: Shaun Donovan, former Federal Housing Secretary; Raymond J. McGuire, a former Wall Street executive; and Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive.

Mike Nelson, spokesperson for CBS, said the hosts only wanted to nominate the top candidates and the decision was based on polls and the number of small contributions from each candidate.

Mr. Donovan’s campaign was upset that they had not received an invitation.

“It is scandalous that CBS puts its thumb so much on the scales in a Democratic election,” campaign manager Brendan McPhillips said in a statement. “Not only did they fail to contact all of the candidates, they won’t even share the criteria for their arbitrary decision.”

The most recent polls have shown Mr. Adams in the lead, with Ms. Wiley, Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia not far behind. Support for Mr Stringer, the city’s comptroller, fell after being accused of sexual misconduct by two women.

Mr. Donovan, Mr. McGuire and Ms. Morales were all about 5 percent or less in recent polls. Mr. Donovan and Mr. McGuire failed to run for office despite raising large sums of money. Ms Morales has faced growing problems with her campaign staff.

nytimes - New York primary debate rocked by last-minute change

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams backed down on Thursday and said he would debate four of his rivals.
Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

In an effort to avoid a potentially “painful distraction” for the family of a killed child, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams reversed the course on Thursday and said he would in fact participate in the debate on this. evening.

In a two-part Twitter thread, Mr Adams has denounced attempts by his opponents to ‘politicize’ a vigil for Justin Wallace, 10, who was killed last week in Rockaway, Queens, which Mr Adams had planned to attend instead. of the CBS debate. Mr Adams said after speaking with a representative of the Wallace family, he decided to skip the vigil and “continue to work with the family to end gun violence.”

Justin, who was days away from his 11th birthday, was shot as he opened the door to his aunt’s house. Police charged a murder suspect on Tuesday, the same day Justin planned to celebrate his birthday with an outing to an amusement park.

Various vigils were planned for Justin this week, including one Wednesday attended by three of Mr. Adams’ rivals, Andrew Yang, Maya D. Wiley and Raymond J. McGuire, and another Thursday hosted by Justin’s school and written in the Rockaway Times.

Mr Yang had accused Mr Adams of skipping the debate because he was afraid to answer tough questions, while one of Mr Yang’s campaign managers claims Mr. Adams had created his own vigil as an excuse to skip the debate.

Donovan Richards, president of the Borough of Queens and former Rockaway city councilor who supported Mr. Adams, erupted in anger when asked about Mr. Yang’s claim.

“Stop trying to score political points off the back of a 10-year-old boy who should have graduated,” he said Thursday. “You can go home and sleep at night, but at the end of the night each person has to lay their head on a pillow and their pillow sheets are soaked.”

Mr. Adams’ team also had pointed out that he was already participating in the three debates required by the city’s Campaign Funding Council, and it is not one of them.

“Andrew Yang fled the city at his darkest moment, so he really shouldn’t accuse others of hiding,” said Menashe Shapiro, one of Mr. Adams’s campaign aides, referring to the fact that Mr. Yang spent at least part of the pandemic at his home in New Paltz, NY

nytimes - New York primary debate rocked by last-minute change

Supporters gathered outside the CBS Broadcast Center ahead of the debate.
Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

The third debate between the Democratic candidates for mayor of New York takes place Thursday evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Unlike the two previous debates, only five of the main candidates are expected. Kathryn Garcia, Scott M. Stringer, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang had been considering attending, and Eric Adams said Thursday morning that he would also participate after initially planning to attend a vigil for a 10-year-old who was shot and killed in Queens instead.

The event is the last televised debate before early voting begins on Saturday before the June 22 primary. Another debate is scheduled for next Wednesday. The dynamics of the contest still appear largely fluid, and there has been little data to capture how several major recent developments are registering with voters.

Here are some of the ways you can watch and follow the debate:

  • New York Times reporters will provide commentary and analysis throughout the hour.

  • The debate will be televised on CBS 2 New York and available on the store’s online streaming platforms.

  • A program in Spanish will be available on WLNY TV 10/55.

  • Listeners can also follow the debate via WCBS Newsradio 880 and 1010 WINS radio stations.

  • Other feeds are often available on YouTube.

nytimes - New York primary debate rocked by last-minute change

Lawmakers and left-wing leaders have made a major effort to consolidate around Maya Wiley, center, seen here with one of her Democratic rivals, Andrew Yang, and Mr Yang's wife, Evelyn.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

To borrow from mayoral candidate Dianne Morales, the Democratic primary for mayor of New York promises to be a “mess” in its home stretch.

Two days before the start of the early voting, and less than two weeks before the June 22 primary which will almost certainly determine the next mayor of the city, the contest seems unpredictable, increasingly resentful and shaken by controversies, substantive and others.

Five main candidates will speak in the penultimate debate of the race Thursday: Eric Adams, president of the borough of Brooklyn and presumed favorite; Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate; Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner; Maya D. Wiley, former councilor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Scott M. Stringer, city comptroller.

Mr. Adams, Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia had appeared to be getting ahead in some recent and sparse public polls. But Mr Adams is likely to be the center of the debate as he grapples with questions about his residence – he says he lives in Brooklyn and has actually spent a lot of time sleeping in Borough Lobby. But rivals questioned whether he was spending more time at a residence he co-owned with his partner in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and whether he was telling the truth about where he lived.

Ms Wiley and Mr Stringer competed for support for the more progressive forces in the Democratic Party. But last week, a second woman accused Mr Stringer of making unwanted sexual advances while working at a bar he co-owned decades ago. Mr Stringer said he did not remember the woman, Teresa Logan, but said he apologized if he made her uncomfortable. He denied an initial allegation that he made unwanted sexual advances during a campaign in 2001. Controversies halted his momentum and a number of his supporters abandoned him for Ms Wiley and Mr Adams.

Over the past week, lawmakers and left-wing leaders have made a major effort to rally around Ms Wiley: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backed her up last weekend; Jumaane D. Williams, the New York public attorney, did the same on Wednesday. Ms Morales had also fought for the support of that wing of the party, but amid an election uprising and a battle against organizing efforts, she fired dozens of workers this week, according to the union.

Ms Morales, Shaun Donovan, a former federal housing secretary, and Raymond J. McGuire, a former Citi executive, qualified for further debates, but not for Thursday’s game.

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