Monday, December 22, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: A Debate Worth Advocating

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We interrupt this episode of "There's a Sandanista in the Mayor's Race!" to remind everyone that there's going to be a good debate on NY1 tonight in the battle for Public Advocate.

For those of you who don't know (and that includes a vast majority of New Yorkers), the Public Advocate serves as the city's ombudsman, who often issues reports about city agencies and addresses problems that City Hall isn't doing enough to address. Beyond being a kind of professional rabble rouser, the Public Advocate has also turned into a Democratic mayoral nominee-in-waiting with two of its last three occupants making their way into the general election campaign. Lastly, should anything happen to the mayor, the Public Advocate would briefly take over until a special election can be held.

Both City Councilwoman Letitia James and State Senator Dan Squadron have real legislative records and have stood out when their colleagues often have gone along to get along. That's why it was surprising to me that neither really stood out in their two previous debates. But now that they are in a runoff and three of their rivals have been removed from the stage, maybe they'll both step up their forensic game.

While most races are polled and over-polled, no one really has a clue about who's ahead in this campaign. (James got 36% to Squadron's 33% in the first round.) With turnout expected to be very low, the power of every vote will be magnified. And with no Republican in the general election, the runoff winner will almost certainly take office next January.

This should be a debate that matters so tune in at 7 p.m. and watch our post-debate half-hour special at 8 p.m.!

Bob Hardt

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Connect with the ItCH

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