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City Campaign Finance Board Sets Schedule For Debates

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Candidates for citywide office could participate in more than 15 televised debates this year. In the past, the debates draw attention from across the city, putting candidates on the hot seat in front of a large audience. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

On Thursday, the city's Campaign Finance Board, along with 16 sponsors, including NY1, announced its schedule for this year's debates.

"This slate of debates will surely generate a lot of excitement," said Amy Loprest of the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Every candidate participating in the city's campaign finance program in a citywide race is required to attend.

To get on stage, candidates must also spend a certain amount of cash and meet certain thresholds in the polls.

Self-financed candidates who meet the same criteria are also invited. In the past, some have opted out. Mayor Michael Bloomberg did, leaving an empty podium during his 2005 re-election bid.

"I can't imagine anyone would turn down the opportunity to headline at the Apollo," Fernando Ferrer, who was the Democratic nominee for mayor that year, said during that 2005 debate.

This year, it won't be the first time on stage for some candidates.

"All we're saying is, help give the middle class a break as well," Anthony Weiner said during a 2005 debate.

If past debates are any indication, they could be some of the most defining moments in the campaign.

"His golf game has shown great improvement. At the same point, after eight years, eight is enough, and it's time for him to go," William Thompson said during a 2009 mayoral debate.

All told, we could see more than 15 debates this year. At least five of them will be shown on NY1.

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