NYC Mayor’s Debate to Be Held in Person After Candidate Uproar

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New York City’s next televised mayoral debate will be held in person on June 2, following an uproar by candidates and good governance experts that said it made no sense to hold virtual briefings when the city had already relaxed its mask and social distancing rules.

“After receiving the final list of candidates this weekend and much due diligence reviewing the safety protocols, our team is now confident that we can host the June 2 mayoral debate with the candidates in person,” according to a statement issued late Monday by Walt Disney Co., the parent company of the local ABC station hosting the forum.

The debate will consist of eight candidates ahead of the June 22 Democratic primary, which will likely decide the winner in heavily-Democratic New York City. It will be the first mayoral contest held via ranked-choice voting, which requires voters to select their top five choices.

When Bloomberg News last week contacted the city’s Campaign Finance Board, which hosts the debate, it initially said the candidates would be debating virtually via Zoom. The decision sparked an uproar among several candidates, who later sent a letter to the board protesting the decision.

“New Yorkers face one of the most consequential elections in history, and they deserve and need to see the candidates debate in person,” the letter said.

Amy Loprest, executive director of the Campaign Finance Board, said Monday that it was “thrilled” to hold the June 2 debate in person. “We appreciate all of the work that will go into making this debate compelling for the voters and safe for the candidates, moderators and WABC personnel.”

Civil rights lawyer and mayoral hopeful Maya Wiley, called it “the right decision.” She said in a statement on Twitter that “we’re deciding our City’s future & Zoom debates won’t cut it.”

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