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Comptroller Candidates Hold Final Face-Off

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The two Democratic candidates vying to become the city's next comptroller took the stage Thursday night for one final debate ahead of next week's runoff election.

City Councilman John Liu of Queens and City Councilman David Yassky of Brooklyn are the last two standing after a hard fought four-way primary.

During the 60-minute debate, both candidates hit on a range of topics including pension reform, the extension of term limits and the use of member items in the City Council.

With only a few days left before Tuesday's runoff, the debate also served as one of the last opportunities for the two Democrats to make their case to the voters. One theme running throughout the debate seemed to be the candidates' honesty and integrity, or lack thereof.

Yassky went after his opponent, accusing him of being dishonest about his record throughout the campaign. Liu has faced questions about claims that he worked in a sweatshop as a child.

"I've been saddened and disappointed by the campaign you've run in public service and issue," Yassky said. "You've run ads that contain claims that just aren't true and the facts just don't add up."

Liu, meanwhile, zeroed in on his opponents vote on the term limits extension. Yassky voted to allow three terms instead of two, but Liu says that vote came only after his opponent offered assurances that he would vote to block the extension.

"When you went on for months telling your constituents, telling good government groups, telling your colleagues that you are not going to support a change in the term limits without going back to the voters," Liu said. "We took you at face value, and then at the last minute you tried to introduce some kind of resolution that you knew was dead on arrival and then you wound up voting yes."

The candidates also tried to impress upon voters that they in particular have the experience and financial expertise to lead this office and protect the city's pension funds.

While the winner of Tuesday's runoff will have to compete in the general election in November, whoever the Democratic candidate may be is expected to easily win the race.

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