Without Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on the stage, Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota and Independence Party mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion participated in a largely cordial debate at the CUNY Graduate Center that aired live on NY1. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
The disagreements between the two candidates certainly weren't glaring. Instead, Republican candidate Joseph Lhota and Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion largely directed attacks at the person who was missing on stage: the Democratic front-runner, Bill de Blasio.
De Blasio declined an invitation from NY1.
"Bill, on many, many issues, is an extremist, and it needs to come out, and it needs to be known," Lhota said.
"I'm sorry that Mr. de Blasio decided that he's going to take the Rose Garden strategy and not make any mistakes," Carrion said.
In an hour-long debate sponsored by NY1, Carrion and Lhota attempted to drum up support.
They each need it. Lhota is trailing de Blasio by 50 points in the most recent polls. Carrion is in single digits.
They tapped into familiar rhetoric, that the city is unaffordable.
"When you look at the largest expense that these landlords have to pay, it's the property tax and it's the water bills," Lhota said.
"On day 1 of a Carrion administration, and I would expect of a Lhota administration or a de Blasio administration the same thing, we declare a state of housing emergency in the city of New York," Carrion said.
Carrion and Lhota also had to play a little defense. Lhota had to do so for supporting conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater when he was younger.
"He wanted everybody to know exactly where he stands, and you know, quite honestly, I found that refreshing," Lhota said.
Carrion had to do so for switching party affiliations. The former Bronx borough president was a longtime Democrat. He became unaffiliated to win over the support of the city's Independence Party and run for mayor.
"I'm proud to embrace the Independence Party," Carrion said.
The two did differ on at least one issue: the future of the city's bridges.
Lhota, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, wants the city to wrest control from the authority. Carrion expressed support for tolls on the East River crossings.
"The mayor and the City Council should be determining what those tolls should be," Lhota said.
"If we tolled the East River bridges, it would create some equality in our city and some fairness," Carrion said.
While de Blasio skipped Wednesday night's proceedings, he's set to debate Lhota three times before Election Day.