CFB Announces Sponsors and Schedule for 2019 Public Advocate Special Election Debates

17/01/2019

The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) announces the sponsors and schedule for the NYC Debate Program for the 2019 Public Advocate special election which will be held on February 26.

Spectrum News NY1 will sponsor and broadcast both debates for the Public Advocate special election. The following co-sponsors will join with NY1 in producing the debates: POLITICO New York, Citizens Union, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Latino Leadership Institute, The League of Women Voters of the City of New York, NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., East Kings County Alumnae Chapter.

Any candidate who participates in the matching funds program is required to participate in each debate for which they are eligible. The Debate Program, launched in 1997, calls for two debates prior to each citywide election to provide voters with the opportunity to compare candidates side-by-side. This is the first time since the CFB was established in 1988 that the city has held a special election for a citywide office.

First Debate: February 6 starting at 7 p.m. 
  • To be eligible to participate in this debate, candidates must:
    • have raised and spent $56,938 (1.25% of the expenditure limit for Public Advocate) as reflected in the campaign finance disclosure statement which must be filed with the CFB by midnight Friday, January 25; 
    • be on the ballot as of the date of the debate and meet all other minimum criteria under the Campaign Finance Act.
Second "leading contenders" Debate: February 20 starting at 7 p.m. 
  • To be eligible to participate in this debate, candidates must: 
    • have raised and spent $170,813 (3.75% of the expenditure limit for Public Advocate) as reflected in the campaign finance disclosure statement which must be filed with the CFB by midnight on Friday, February 15;
      AND
    • have received an endorsement from a City, State, or federal elected official who represents all or a portion of New York City; OR
    • have received an endorsement from one or more membership organizations with a membership of over 250 members residing in New York City;
    • be on the ballot as of the date of the debate and meet all other minimum criteria under the Campaign Finance Act.
Both debates will be televised by Spectrum News NY1 and streamed live on the NY1 website and on the NY1 Facebook page. The debates will be simulcast on NYC Life, the flagship station owned by the City of New York.

"We are very excited to announce that NY1, Politico, and a number of civic organizations, including Citizens Union and the League of Women Voters, will host the historic debates for the Public Advocate special election. The Debate Program is a critical part of New York City's public matching funds program that empowers New Yorkers to take ownership of our elections and our government. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all of the sponsors for their commitment to our city and to producing smart engaging debates that will help voters cast an informed ballot on Election Day," said Frederick Schaffer, Chair, NYC Campaign Finance Board.

"We look forward to partnering with the Campaign Finance Board to produce and air debates for the Public Advocate special election. The seat is next in line to the mayor and these debates will allow viewers to hear directly from the candidates and allow New Yorkers to make informed decisions at the polls,” said Anthony Proia, Senior Director of News at Spectrum News NY1.

"POLITICO is eager to play a role in these debates and we look forward to asking the candidates about issues that matter most to New Yorkers," said David Giambusso, City editor, POLITICO New York.

"Citizens Union is proud to be partnering with the Campaign Finance Board and our fellow sponsors to bring these debates to New York City voters. The Public Advocate plays a critical role in our city government and it is important that New Yorkers have a chance to hear directly from candidates who wish to serve in this position. As a former Public Advocate, I look forward to seeing the candidates engage in a robust discussion of the issues facing our city and encourage all New Yorkers to join me in tuning into these debates," said Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of Citizens Union

“BMCC is proud to be hosting this important special election debate with our civic partners. It’s fitting as a higher education institution to be part of the effort to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the information they need to make informed decisions on election day. Having the debate on campus also provides a unique opportunity for our students, aligned with our objective to prepare students for lifelong civic participation,” said Karrin Wilks, Interim President, Borough of Manhattan Community College

“As we celebrate our centennial anniversary, the League of Women Voters of the City of New York remains committed to making democracy a participatory and civic effort that works for all. The LWVNYC is honored to collaborate and support good governance groups and educate and inform voters on the upcoming seat for NYC Public Advocate,” said Crystal Joseph, Vice President, League of Women Voters of the City of New York.

“The Latino Leadership Institute Inc. is, once again, proud to co-sponsor a prime time televised debate (our 6th televised debate) in order to provide the best forum possible to all New York City residents to evaluate the platforms of each of the candidates for the office of Public Advocate and thus, contributing to solidify the democratic process in New York City,”  said Jaime Estades, Founder and President of the Latino Leadership Institute

"For 106 years, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has been committed to social justice and tirelessly works to promote civic engagement and voter education. The East Kings County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is excited to be a co-partner with NY1 for the Public Advocate debates and empower voters to make an informed decision when going to the polls in February for this very important election” said Judith Joseph Jenkins, President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., East Kings County Alumnae Chapter.

“For 110 years the NAACP has been proud to participate in the voter education process, by providing opportunities for communities to know and understand the candidates seeking election, through the debate process. An educated voter, is a knowledgeable and powerful voter,” said Kenneth D. Cohen, Regional Director, NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council

The program is a core component of NYC Votes, the CFB’s nonpartisan voter engagement campaign. The CFB administers the Debate Program, and individual debates are sponsored by media outlets, civic groups, and academic institutions in order to reach as wide and diverse an audience as possible. The Board selected the sponsors after a thorough, competitive process. 

NYC Votes is the nonpartisan voter engagement initiative of the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and its Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC). In addition to promoting voter registration, participation, and civic engagement in New York City through its many programs and partnerships, NYC Votes sponsors the city’s official Debate Program and produces the citywide Voter Guide.

 

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