Live N.Y.C. Mayoral Debate News: Eric Adams vs. Curtis Sliwa


Eric Adams seems flustered tonight, halting and backtracking in his sentence, different from his usual smooth-talking self. Maybe Curtis Sliwa’s right-from-the-opening-bell attacks threw him off.

Eric Adams reminds viewers that Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, has admitted to faking crimes in the past.

The civility did not last long in this debate. Curtis Sliwa used the first question to attack Eric Adams. Adams responded in kind.

Curtis Sliwa slams Eric Adams for having said he met with gang members who have committed murder. Adams says: “I’m speaking to those who have committed crimes to get them out of gangs.”

Hello! The final debate of the mayor’s race begins soon. It’s been a long road to Election Day, which is one week from today.

Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee, appears to be on a glide path to Gracie Mansion. Curtis Sliwa, his Republican opponent, will take one last shot at knocking him off-kilter tonight. But his attempts to do so last week fell flat.

These two candidates will be making their final pitches as we close in on Election Day, although early voting began on Saturday and runs through the end of the month.

Eric Adams is so assured of his looming victory that he started building a transition team weeks ago, vetting candidates and turning his fund-raising attention to boosting like-minded allies.

The first question of the debate is about stop-and-frisk policing. Eric Adams says his son was stopped, and it still traumatizes him.

Eric Adams, a former police officer, has said that stop-and-frisk can be an effective tool if done properly. Adams’s focus on crime was key to his Democratic primary victory.

Curtis Sliwa, a deft showman, appears ready to try the same tactics he deployed last week: He uses his first opportunity to speak to confront Eric Adams and try to draw him into an argument. Adams just laughts.

Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

In the final week of the mayoral campaign, Curtis Sliwa is courting Republicans, Democrats and animal lovers.

His dedication to animal welfare is personal. Mr. Sliwa has given numerous media tours to introduce New Yorkers to the 16 cats living inside his 320-square-foot studio apartment.

His feline collection began six years ago when he moved in with his fourth wife, Nancy Sliwa, in her apartment near Central Park. They took in rescue cats that were sick or abandoned.

Now Mr. Sliwa is making animal welfare a central part of his campaign. He released a “13-Point Animal Welfare Plan” last week that includes creating a “no-kill” shelter system and ending the horse carriage industry.

His first television ad featured him holding one of his cats, Tuna, and promising “compassionate solutions” as mayor.

During a reporter’s visit to his home over the summer, the cats climbed onto the dining table, walked across a photographer’s lap and gathered in a front window to watch pigeons. The apartment did not smell bad.

“You change the litter three times a day,” Mr. Sliwa said.

Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times

Eric Adams has leaned heavily on his biography along his increasingly likely path to become New York’s 110th mayor.

When he talks about public schools, Mr. Adams, 61, reminds voters that his dyslexia went undiscovered for most of his youth.

On homelessness, Mr. Adams has said that he carried a garbage bag full of clothes to school as a child because he was worried that his family would be evicted before he returned home.

On crime and public safety, Mr. Adams promises that he can both promote public safety and protect Black and Latino residents from civil rights abuses because he was beaten by the police as a teenager, but then joined the Police Department and spoke out against discriminatory behavior from within its ranks.

Since he won the Democratic primary, Mr. Adams has held a raft of fund-raisers with New York’s rich and powerful. He’s consulted with the billionaire former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and dined with the billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch while promising that New York City government will be more friendly to business.

This ability to be many things to many people and to convincingly shape-shift at will is Mr. Adams’s greatest skill but may also be his greatest liability. By appealing to so many varied constituencies at once, Mr. Adams has created a tent so large that disappointment is inevitable.

Even those who have known Mr. Adams for decades aren’t sure which version will show up to City Hall if, as expected, he wins the Nov. 2 election and becomes the city’s second Black mayor. Sometimes, even Mr. Adams does not seem to be sure.

“I’m so many formers,” Mr. Adams said during a July visit to the White House, where he declared himself the new face of the Democratic Party, “I’m trying to figure out the current.”

Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

Curtis Sliwa and Eric Adams both had modest upbringings, and share working-class roots in New York City: Mr. Sliwa as the red-bereted founder of the Guardian Angels, and Mr. Adams as a former transit police officer.

But if recent past is prologue, Mr. Sliwa, the Republican mayoral nominee, is likely to use his last, best opportunity to make a dent in this year’s mayoral race by casting Mr. Adams as a bon vivant who revels in the company of billionaires — in contrast to the Democratic nominee’s carefully crafted image as the candidate of the working class.

“Eric has been wined, dined, and pocket-lined by the uber-rich, realtors, developers, and hedge fund monsters,” Mr. Sliwa said in a recent news release accompanying a video of himself trying to enter a private club where he said Mr. Adams was socializing. “Elite Eric has been bossed and bought.”

Mr. Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels patrol group and a popular AM radio personality, lives in a 320-square-foot apartment on the Upper West Side with his fourth wife and more than a dozen cats. In recent weeks, he has mocked Mr. Adams’s tailored suits and his predilection for frequenting an exclusive private club in NoHo, Zero Bond.

Mr. Adams, who grew up in poverty before becoming a police captain, state senator and Brooklyn borough president, has in fact displayed a taste for New York City’s exclusive nightlife. He has made repeat appearances in the New York Post’s Page Six, after spending multiple nights at Zero Bond, whose patrons include Paris Hilton, and at Rao’s, the famously exclusive Italian joint in East Harlem.

After Mr. Adams went on a post-primary vacation to a European country he declined to name, Politico reported the destination was Monaco, a principality known for its popularity with the idle rich.

“Who goes to Monaco?” Mr. Sliwa asked during last week’s debate.

Mr. Adams has won the support of several billionaires, who have donated to him directly and funded a super PAC that campaigned on his behalf in the Democratic primary.

In recent days, Mr. Sliwa has also cast himself as the pro-motorist candidate, while Mr. Adams recently won the endorsement of StreetsPAC, a group that wants to rein in drivers on city streets.

Credit…Pool photo by Mary Altaffer

If last week’s debate was any indication, the moderators of the second and final official mayoral debate between Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa might have their hands full on Tuesday.

Mr. Sliwa, who has struggled to break through with voters before the Nov. 2 election, tried last week to rattle Mr. Adams, the front-runner, by constantly attacking him, speaking out of turn and talking over the moderators as they implored Mr. Sliwa to stop.

The moderators had threatened to cut off the microphone if the rules weren’t obeyed, but it often took at least two moderators to get Mr. Sliwa to stop speaking. And while Mr. Adams kept his composure, he complained more than once that the moderators were not enforcing the rules.

The task of keeping things in line tonight will fall to three respected veterans of New York City journalism: Bill Ritter, a WABC-TV anchor; Dave Evans, a WABC-TV political reporter; and Mariela Salgado, a news anchor from Univision 41.

Mr. Ritter, a native of Los Angeles who has worked as a journalist since 1972, will serve as the moderator. He started working at ABC in 1992 as a founding co-host of “Good Morning America Sunday.” Mr. Ritter was kicked out of San Diego State University for protesting against the Vietnam War, but returned to college 40 years later and received his degree at the New School in 2016. He has served as the moderator on mayoral debates airing on the station since 2001.

Mr. Evans, a panelist, arrived at WABC-TV in 1999 and has covered everything from the war in Iraq to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. He has competed in many marathons and triathlons.

Ms. Salgado, also a panelist, is a native of Chile who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. She has reported on the disputed ballots in Florida during the 2000 election, the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and the plight of undocumented Central Americans as they made the dangerous journey to the United States.

Credit…Pool photo by Craig Ruttle

In the second and final debate of the general election, the two contenders have starkly different imperatives.

For Curtis Sliwa, the long-shot Republican nominee who has struggled to gain traction, the debate represents the last chance to try to meaningfully alter the trajectory of the mayoral race. That is an exceptionally difficult task in New York City, a Democratic stronghold that elected Mayor Bill de Blasio by a winning margin of around 50 percentage points in 2013.

But Mr. Sliwa may try to seize any opportunity he can to stoke doubts about Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee. On the debate stage last week, the exchanges were relatively mild, and Mr. Adams ignored many of Mr. Sliwa’s criticisms.

For Mr. Adams, the task is the opposite: Do nothing that would change the dynamics of the race, while seeking to fuel enthusiasm in an election in which turnout is unpredictable and many voters are fatigued by politics.

Can he stay above the fray, as he did last week, or will he find himself drawn into a tit-for-tat with Mr. Sliwa? Can he offer a statesmanlike vision for the city while energizing viewers to turn out, or will he be put onto the defensive by moderators or his opponent?

Many political observers expect that the debate will do little to change the direction of the election, but it could affect how voters feel about their choices.

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

The second and final New York City mayoral debate between Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and broadcast live on WABC-TV (Channel 7) and simulcast on NYC Life TV (Channel 25.1), the city-owned station.

The one-hour debate will also be streamed live online at ABC7NY.com and in Spanish on Univision41.com and Univision’s YouTube channel.

Bill Ritter, a WABC-TV anchor who has moderated mayoral debates for almost two decades, will serve as moderator. He’ll be joined by two panelists: Dave Evans, the station’s longtime political reporter, and Mariela Salgado, an anchor for Univision 41.

A team of reporters from The New York Times will be offering live commentary and analysis as the debate unfolds.

Credit…Pool photo by Craig Ruttle

At the first New York City mayoral debate last week, the two major candidates sharpened their attacks on each other and made their strategies clear.

Eric Adams, the Democratic front-runner, tried to depict his Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, as a liar and clown. “I’m speaking to New Yorkers — not speaking to buffoonery,” Mr. Adams said, in perhaps the most memorable line of the night.

Mr. Sliwa sought to tie Mr. Adams to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is unpopular in many corners of the city, while arguing that Mr. Adams was out of touch with working class New Yorkers. Mr. Sliwa has kept up those attacks in recent days.

“Eric Adams loves New York City so much that he lives in an apartment in New Jersey, spends his summers in Monaco, and hosts his parties out in the Hamptons,” Mr. Sliwa wrote on Twitter on Sunday, raising questions about Mr. Adams’s residency, a recent vacation to Europe and his fund-raisers on Long Island.

The debate also covered a broad array of critical issues facing New York City, from the crisis at the Rikers Island jail facility to a new vaccine mandate for city workers. Mr. Adams wants to close Rikers; Mr. Sliwa vowed to move there temporarily in his first days in office. Mr. Adams supports the vaccine mandate; Mr. Sliwa does not.

Mr. Adams agrees with a decision to remove a Thomas Jefferson statue from City Council chambers; Mr. Sliwa wants to keep the statue there.

Over the course of the hourlong debate, Mr. Adams tried to remain calm and argued that Mr. Sliwa’s confession that he made up crimes for publicity in the 1980s was disqualifying.

“He made up crime, New Yorkers,” Mr. Adams said. “That in itself is a crime.”

Credit…Pool photo by Craig Ruttle

With just a week left until Election Day, the Democratic and Republican nominees for mayor of New York City will square off for the final time on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the second of two televised debates.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and Democratic nominee, remains the overwhelming favorite and could soon emerge as the second Black mayor in the city’s history. So confident is Mr. Adams in his chances of carrying the overwhelmingly Democratic city on Nov. 2 that he has already started building a transition team and vetting candidates for top government jobs.

His Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, will be trying to increase his odds on Tuesday, taking one last shot at knocking Mr. Adams off his glide path to City Hall. But so far, Mr. Sliwa, the flamboyant founder of the Guardian Angels patrol group and longtime media personality, has failed to break through to voters with a populist platform focused on public safety, animal rights and the plight of New York City’s homeless population.

The first Adams-Sliwa debate last week did little to shake up the race’s dynamic, even as the candidates disagreed on vaccine mandates for students, how to fight a rise in crime across the city and a congestion pricing plan.

Mr. Adams stuck to broad platitudes, promising to make New York City safer and more prosperous. He largely ignored the bait flung by Mr. Sliwa, who tried to lure him into fights over whether he actually lived in New York City and where he vacations.

“I’m speaking to New Yorkers,” Mr. Adams quipped. “Not speaking to buffoonery.”

But Mr. Adams also eluded questions from moderators eager to pin down more specific policy plans from a candidate whose views have repeatedly evolved.

Rallying with prominent Democrats on Sunday, Mr. Adams shared a piece of campaign advice for himself in the race’s final week: “You don’t win a baseball game in the eighth inning.”

Voters began casting ballots early across the city in modest numbers last weekend and can do so every day through Sunday.





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