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Candidate Debates – 2021 NYC Debate Program

The Debate Program is a cornerstone of the CFB’s voter education efforts. The program ensures that citywide candidates participating in the public matching funds program participate in debates if they meet the nonpartisan, objective criteria. Debates provide New Yorkers with an opportunity to compare candidates side-by-side as they discuss the important issues facing the city.

The Board announced the 2021 Debate Program schedule and candidate eligibility criteria on March 11, 2021. Specific details on how to tune-in will be included in media advisories released prior to each debate.

— Primary Election Debates | Election Day June 22 —

Mayoral
Democratic

Thursday, May 13
7 pm - 9 pm

Spectrum News NY1

Mayoral
Republican

Wednesday, May 26
7 pm - 8 pm

Spectrum News NY1

Mayoral
Democratic

Wednesday, June 2
7 pm - 9 pm

WABC-TV

Mayoral
Republican
"Leading Contenders"

Sunday, June 6
11 am – 12 noon

WABC - TV

Comptroller
Democratic

Thursday, June 10
7 pm - 8 pm

Spectrum News NY1

Mayoral
Democratic
"Leading Contenders"

Wednesday, June 16
7 pm - 8 pm

WNBC-TV

Comptroller
Democratic
"Leading Contenders"

Sunday, June 20
9:30 am - 10:30 am

WNBC-TV

— General Election Debates | Election Day November 2 —

Mayoral

Wednesday, October 20
7 pm - 8 pm

WNBC-TV

Mayoral
"Leading Contenders"

Tuesday, October 26
7 pm - 8 pm

WABC-TV

About the Debate Program

The NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB) has administered debates for every citywide election since 1997. The debates are a key component of the CFB’s nonpartisan voter engagement initiative, NYC Votes. City law calls for two debates to be held per election (primary and general election), per citywide office (mayor, comptroller, and public advocate).  The 2021 primary elections will be the first citywide elections conducted under ranked choice voting.

Due to the broad and competitive field of candidates in the Democratic mayoral primary, the CFB and Spectrum News NY1 have agreed to host a non-mandatory debate on May 13. The eligibility criteria established in the city’s Campaign Finance Act will be the threshold to participate in this debate.

Debate Participation Thresholds

Candidates participating in the city's public matching funds program are required to participate in each debate for which they meet nonpartisan, objective eligibility criteria. Candidates who are not participating in the campaign finance program may be invited to the debate by the sponsors, if the candidate meets the eligibility criteria.

If only one candidate qualifies for a debate, then that debate is not held. This schedule reflects all debates anticipated at this time; if two or more candidates meet the eligibility thresholds for other offices or contests, then debates will be added.

Under New York City's Campaign Finance Act, must have raised and spent 2.5% of the spending limit for that office as reflected in the campaign finance disclosure reported prior to the debate.

NYC Debate Eligibility Criteria - 2021 Elections

Office Sought

Spending Limit

Debate Participation Threshold

Mayor

$7,286,000

$182,150

Public Advocate, Comptroller

$4,555,000

$113,875

For the second, "leading contenders" debate for each office, the debate sponsors may use additional, objective, nonpartisan, nondiscriminatory criteria.

Sponsorship applications for the 2021 Debate Program were due by November 19, 2020.

An information session was held on Thursday, October 22, to provide prospective sponsors with information about program requirements and the application process. Watch video of the info session.

2021 Debate Program Applications Received

Lead Sponsor

Co-Sponsor

ABC

WABC-TV

 

League Of Women Voters of NYC

 

Univision 41 Nueva York / WADO-AM

 

Hispanic Federation

 

NAACP NYS Conference

BRIC

BRIC-TV

CBS

WCBS-TV

 

NewsRadio 880

 

1010Wins

 

Common Cause NY

NBC

WNBC-TV

 

Telemundo 47

 

Politico

 

Citizens Budget Commission

 

New York Urban League

NY1

Spectrum News NY1

 

WNYC - Gothamist

 

The City

 

Citizens Union

 

Social Work Votes
(Columbia School of Social Work & Latino Leadership Institute)

 

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Past Debate Information

Past Debate Videos