What happened to our debates?
Independence Party nominee Carmine Morano has issued this challenge to all of our candidates;
I am proposing that, beginning August 15th, we hold a series of weekly debates and candidate forums from now until the September 9th Primary, and again from that time until Election Day, with all of the candidates who have qualified for the ballot.
It is intriguing. Morano has some massive odds stacked against him and any publicity and media coverage can only help his candidacy. "Harrison had already challenged McMahon to a series of five debates back in June, to which McMahon had no reply as he was setting up his campaign and collecting ballot petitions. McMahon did though make this statement;
"We look forward to scheduling debates with all the candidates," said McMahon campaign spokesman Patrick Brennan. "Right now, Councilman McMahon is focused on adopting a city budget that addresses the needs of his constituents and all New Yorkers."
Once candidates file their nominating petitions, Brennan said, "We will meet with the various campaigns and put in place a debate plan."
So where are the debates? We are six weeks out from the primary election and if it weren't for Morano's challenge I probably would have forgot about the above statement. Debates definitely will favor the challengers and those who are not front runners. We saw that with the Harrison vs. Fossella debates in 2006. Everyone but McMahon would almost certainly gain something from them. Straniere could beg Republicans to stop hating him, Morano and Wyne could tell Republicans and Conservatives they don't have to vote for Straniere, and Harrison could show off his debating skills and provide an alternative to all three. Would McMahon want to jump into that and would it help his campaign? If he is staying low and hoping his momentum and name recognition will carry him through the primary then I would have to venture that he would want to not get involved in a set up like this. Why submit yourself to prodding by Republicans when you still have to face off in a Democratic primary? Why debate partisan issues when you are defining yourself compared to someone within your party. My advice is that Harrison should embrace Morano's challenge and debate as often as possible and McMahon should hit the streets and knock on doors in Brooklyn and mid island and agree to one or two debate appearances close to primary day.