NY1 hosted the first general election debate for public advocate on Monday night — a practically friendly affair compared to the first mayoral debate.
Republican underdog J.C. Polanco faced Letitia James, the incumbent and a Democrat, at CUNY's Graduate Center in Midtown in what could be the only televised debate before the general election.
Polanco's campaign has been under the radar, as he has no campaign staff.
He is also way behind James on the financial front. According to the last campaign finance filing, James has $1 million on-hand while Polanco has less than $8,000.
Unlike last Tuesday's wild debate for mayor, the candidates Tuesday were cordial, practically exchanging pleasantries.
They covered issues where they differed, from charter schools to independence from the mayor.
"On some occasions when you disagree with the mayor, you should be vocally critical of the mayor of the city of New York," James said. "But when you agree with him, such as on [universal] pre-K, you should stand by his side."
"There is a whole myriad of times that this public advocate has been very quiet and silent to make sure that the mayor is on her good side, and that the voters that are constantly with the mayor are going to be with her in four years," Polanco said.
The two did not stray far from the party line. Polanco falsely exaggerated Mayor Bill de Blasio's criticism of the NYPD, saying he would be a more effective check on de Blasio.
"I remember Tish James being completely silent as this mayor referred to our cops as bigots, and how he had to have special conversations with his child when he deals with the police, as if our cops are racists," Polanco said.
The candidates said they opposed the mayor's plan to open 90 shelters to address the city's homeless crisis.
NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis also asked James about her relationship with a young homeless girl named Dasani, who she brought to her inauguration almost four years ago. At the time, the invitation by James was seen by some as a political stunt.
James: Dasani represents, again, 23,000 children who unfortunately are in our public school system who need assistance each and every day. We need case workers and individuals who are dealing with trauma.
Louis: Is she still homeless?
James: At this point in time, Dasani is still back with her family in the city of New York and they still have their challenges.
NY1 has learned that Dasani and her family have moved out of the shelter system.
Maybe the most interesting part of the debate was when NY1 asked Polcano if he had ever voted for someone of the opposite party. He said yes. Who? He said Letitia James.