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De Blasio, Lhota Want Final Debate, Scheduled For Anniversary Of Sandy, Postponed

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Mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and Joseph Lhota both believe that their third and final debate Tuesday, which falls on the anniversary of when Hurricane Sandy hit New York, should be postponed. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

Just two days before they're set to meet a final time, the Democrat and Republican candidates for mayor say it's better that their debate be postponed.

"I think it's a day that's obviously an anniversary of a tragedy," de Blasio said. "It would be ideal not to have a debate that day."

"We need to remember," Lhota said. "I think it's very, very important to do that."

The calendar of this year's political debates was announced in June, with the final mayoral debate October 29. That's the day that the storm hit the city.

"I expressed my concern to the Campaign Finance Board months ago that they were going to be having a debate at the exact hour, 7 o'clock, 7 to 8 o'clock, when the storm hit Lower Manhattan," Lhota said.

Organizers countered that no one complained until this weekend, when news coverage of the storm's anniversary climbed.

The city's Campaign Finance Board, which oversees the forums, said no formal request has been made to change the debate, which is being broadcast on WNBC-TV.

Still, organizers were having their own internal debate, huddling Sunday to see whether the forum should be rescheduled.

"I think it would be better if they moved it," de Blasio said. "We'll honor whatever decision the Campaign Finance Board makes, as they're ultimately the judge here, but I think it would be better if it were delayed."

All day Tuesday, New Yorkers will be holding a number of events to remember what happened one year ago. One of them will be Tuesday evening at a church in the Breezy Point section of Queens. Here, Hurricane Sandy didn't just unleash a devastating flood, but also a catastrophic fire."

"I think it would be more appropriate, if at all possible, that they reschedule the debate," said Joseph Lynch of the Breezy Point Cooperative. "I understand it's very difficult at this point in time probably to reschedule it, but it's a very sensitive time for the people in the Rockaways."

The Rockaways was where de Blasio spent much of Sunday. He huddled with Breezy Point leaders.

Lhota spent part of Sunday with a Jewish group in Staten Island and was also traveling to meet another Jewish group in Far Rockaway.

The pair will likely meet again. The question is when.

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