The gloves came off Wednesday night at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side.
Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his record against Sal Albanese, the former city councilman, in the first Democratic primary debate in the race for mayor, which NY1 hosted, with partners NYC Votes, WNYC, POLITICO New York, the Citizens Union, the Latino Leadership Institute, Civic Hall, and Intelligence Squared US.
"Looking forward to the sentence where you get your facts straight," de Blasio said to Albanese during the debate.
Following a coin toss Wednesday morning (watch below), Albanese delivered his opening remarks first.
For 90 minutes, de Blasio and Albanese attempted to persuade voters to their side. Albanese did it by attacking de Blasio.
"He has basically turned over the city to big developers," Albanese said. "That's the bottom line."
Albanese tried to capitalize on the numerous investigations into pay-to-play politics at City Hall. Those investigations did not result in any criminal charges.
"This is chronicled," Albanese said. "This is not Sal Albanese talking. The Times chronicled stories about the problems he's had with pay-to-play. The Daily News — he told a guy that raised tens of thousands of dollars for him — who is a criminal — said, 'I'm all ears.'"
De Blasio: Sal, it would be nice if you wanted to talk about the issues affecting everyday New Yorkers.
Albanese: It is an issue affecting everyday New Yorkers.
De Blasio: It's just not!
De Blasio's strategy? Telling the audience that Albanese was just wrong.
The mayor attempted to focus on his record, but spent a lot of time defending that, too; such as his trips across the country and rumors that de Blasio has ambitions beyond City Hall.
De Blasio: I am running for one thing and one thing only: For re-election as mayor of New York City. It's my honor to be mayor of this great city. I want to serve for four more years.
Panelist Grace Rauh: Will you pledge to serve for four years?
De Blasio: I will serve for four full years.
Albanese ran for mayor four years ago and finished eighth in a nine-person Democratic field.
So far this time around, he has raised significantly less money than de Blasio.
Typically, the first primary debate is seen as the official start of the campaign season. Thus, New Yorkers should expect to see a lot more of the candidates on the campaign trail. The primary is Sept. 12.