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Photo by Kyle O’Leary. City Council Member and Public Advocate Candidate Rafael Espinal with a supporter at the House of Yes in Bushwick.

The NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB) announces that 10 candidates have met the financial threshold to participate in the first official debate of the 2019 Public Advocate Special Election, airing Wednesday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m. 

The 10 candidates who have met the nonpartisan objective criteria for the debate are: Michael Blake, Rafael Espinal, Jr., Ron Kim, Nomiki Konst, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Daniel O’Donnell, Ydanis Rodriguez, Dawn Smalls, Eric Ulrich and Jumaane Williams. 

Each candidate is participating in the matching funds program, which requires their participation in the debate program. In order to qualify for the first debate candidates needed to have raised and spent $56,938 (1.25% of the expenditure limit), in compliance with city law as of Monday, January 21.

New Yorkers will vote in the Special Election on Tuesday, February 26.

The debate will be televised by Spectrum News NY1 and livestreamed 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. The following co-sponsors will join NY1 in producing the debate: Spectrum NY1 Noticias, 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. 

The debate will be broadcast from the CUNY-TV studio in Manhattan (there will be no live audience for this debate). 

A second and final Special Election Debate will air on Wednesday, February 20 at 7:00 pm. In order to qualify for this “leading contenders” debate, candidates must have raised and spent $170,813 (3.75% of the expenditure limit), as reflected in the campaign finance disclosure statement filed on Friday, February 15. In addition to the financial threshold, candidates must 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 over 250 members residing in New York City in order to qualify for the second debate.


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