With the election less than two weeks away, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand shed her so-called chicken suit and agreed to debate her Republican opponent Chele Farley on Thursday, Oct. 25.
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Gillibrand, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other statewide Democrats were blasted by the New York Post and other major newspapers for failing to debate their challengers before the Nov. 6 election.
Cuomo relented and gave Republican Marc Molinaro his first and probably only one-on-one debate on Tuesday, as reported here by Daily Voice.
Gillibrand, who is up for re-election on Nov. 6, canceled a debate on Sunday sponsored by Spectrum NY1.
The U.S. senator cited a labor dispute and union picketing against Charter Communications, Spectrum’s parent company, as why she pulled out of that debate.
Thursday's 30-minute Farley-Gillibrand debate will air on WABC-TV and begin at 1:30 p.m. Online links to their live-streamed debate can be found by clicking here.
Hosted by Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter, the debate also will air during the station's weekly political flagship show "Up Close with Bill Ritter" at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28.
WABC has offered the broadcast to other ABC affiliates in New York to ensure statewide coverage.
"I appreciate ABC 7 Eyewitness News putting together this last-minute televised debate after Senator Gillibrand’s 11th-hour stunt to get out of the (Sunday) debate she arranged," Farley said.
Farley has served as the state Republican Party’s New York City finance chair after working for several major corporations.
Farley took a swipe at Gillibrand, saying New York’s junior senator caved to political pressure over her decision to pull out of the Spectrum debate.
Farley said: "This is the sixth debate proposal that I have accepted. Senator Gillibrand accepted only one, then backed out before being forced into taking a break from the 2020 Presidential campaign trail to return to New York as she runs for re-election."
Gillibrand campaign spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement, "Senator Gillibrand believes deeply that an open public debate is essential to democracy. We are pleased that WABC-TV, the nation’s most watched local TV station, agreed yesterday afternoon to host a U.S. Senate statewide debate this coming Thursday for their weekly flagship political show Up Close with Bill Ritter."
Caplin, referring to the scrubbed Spectrum debate, said, "With this debate, we will be able to both stand in solidarity with the 1,800 members of IBEW who went on strike for fair pay and benefits and provide New Yorkers with the opportunity they deserve to hear from both candidates. We look forward to the debate."
Gillibrand leads Farley by more than 20 percentage points in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
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