New York City Campaign Finance Board Announces 2017 Debate Program Sponsors and Schedule


Today, the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) announced the sponsors and schedule for the NYC Debate Program for the 2017 elections. The CFB has administered the Debate Program in every citywide election since 1997. The program is a core component of NYC Votes, the CFB’s nonpartisan voter engagement campaign.

"In this fall's citywide elections, New Yorkers have the opportunity to vote for the kind of city they want to live in. Voters want information about where the candidates stand on the issues that matter most in their everyday lives, from jobs to schools to the cost of living. The CFB’s Debate Program is a critical part of our effort to get that information to voters and help them get ready to cast an informed ballot," said Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

The CFB administers the Debate Program, and individual debates are sponsored by media outlets, civic groups, and academic institutions. After a thorough, competitive process, the CFB has selected two sponsor groups, in order to reach as wide and diverse an audience as possible. The sponsor groups are as follows:

  • WCBS, WLNY 1055, NewsRadio 880, 1010 WINS, Daily News, Common Cause/NY, City University of New York (CUNY), New York Immigration Coalition, Rock the Vote
  • Spectrum News NY1, WNYC, POLITICO, Citizens Union, Civic Hall, Intelligence Squared, Latino Leadership Institute
The first mayoral primary election debates will take place on August 16 and 23rd, and the mayoral general election debates will take place on October 10th and on November 1st. Each debate will be broadcast on television, on the radio, and online. The complete schedule  and criteria for participation are available on the CFB website. 

"Our CBS New York stations are proud to be delivering this year's debates to the public over the free airwaves through CBS 2, WLNY 10/55, WCBS Newsradio 880, 1010 WINS, and We are pleased to partner with the Daily News, Common Cause/NY, the New York Immigration Coalition, the City University of New York, and Rock the Vote to provide all New Yorkers with the opportunity to hear from the candidates before Election Day," said Peter Dunn, President of CBS Television Stations and President and General Manager of CBS 2 New York.

"Spectrum News NY1 and Spectrum Noticias NY1 are pleased to partner with the Campaign Finance Board to provide New Yorkers with more political coverage this election year. Debates are an important part of the fabric of democracy, and we look forward to offering a platform for the candidates running for city office to present their agendas to viewers,” said Anthony Proia, Senior Director of News at Spectrum News NY1 and Spectrum Noticias NY1.

"1010 WINS and Newsradio 880 are proud to join the New York City Campaign Finance Board and other selected media outlets in ensuring that candidates are held accountable for their actions. Debates are at the core of a strong democracy, providing access, the opportunity to exchange ideas, and information to the public," said Marc Rayfield, Senior Vice President/Market Manager at CBS Corporation.

"We’ve seen over and over that just a few votes can make a difference in New York City elections. WNYC is pleased to be a co-sponsor of these debates and pleased for Brian Lehrer to be a co-moderator, because we think that robust public forums and coverage of the candidates can only help increase interest and voter participation,” said Jim Schachter, Vice President for News at WNYC.

“Debates among political rivals are vital to the electoral process, and the Daily News is proud to help empower voters to directly judge contenders for citywide offices this fall,” said Arthur Browne, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily News

"POLITICO is proud and excited to be working with Spectrum News NY1 and our other partners to host the 2017 New York City mayoral debates. New York City is a vital part of POLITICO’s coverage – from a local, national and global perspective – and we’re looking forward to engaging voters and focusing on the policies and politics driving the conversation in the nation’s largest city," said Joe Schatz, editor of POLITICO’s state coverage.

"Debates are the heart of our democracy, and Common Cause/NY is committed to ensuring a participatory and inclusive process that explores the real concerns of all New Yorkers," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

"The Campaign Finance Board’s candidate debates are a great opportunity to encourage greater public engagement in the significant but often overlooked municipal elections. The ability to publically exchange ideas and to disagree peacefully is a central tenet of good government practices. Every chance we have to bring political debate to the people is a chance to engage every voter in the process of democratic review," said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union

"There is much at stake in this election for the city’s 3.3 million immigrant New Yorkers, who are increasingly looking to local government for leadership. We're proud to be a co-sponsor of the official CFB debates so that all New Yorkers have a seat at the table and can hold New York City's elected officials accountable," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition

"We're looking forward to helping make the debates more participatory and open to input from the public on the questions New Yorkers want candidates to address," said Micah Sifry, Co-founder of Civic Hall.

"As America’s debate series, we are honored to co-sponsor the 2017 New York City mayoral debates. The mission of Intelligence Squared U.S. is to raise the level of public discourse through civilized, respectful, and fact-based debate. Not only does our country need more balanced civil discourse—our city needs it, too. We are excited to bring our brand of intelligent, interactive debate to New York City’s election process this year," said Clea Chang, Chief Operating Officer of Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates.

“Young voters want to know who the candidates are and how local elected officials impact the issues that matter to them. These public debates provide an opportunity for them to hear directly from the candidates. Rock the Vote is excited to participate in this important process for New York City that will empower our generation to make our voices heard at the ballot box,” said Carolyn Dewitt, President of Rock the Vote

“The Latino Leadership Institute is once again proud to participate as we did 4 years ago with NY1 and the other organizations involved in this pro-democracy exercise in order to make sure that all New Yorkers can have direct access to what citywide municipal candidates for office are thinking in regards to how the city should be governed,”  said Jaime Estades, Founder and President of the Latino Leadership Institute

NYC Votes is the nonpartisan voter engagement initiative of the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and its Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC). In addition to promoting voter registration, participation, and civic engagement in New York City through its many programs and partnerships, NYC Votes sponsors the city’s official Debate Program and produces the citywide Voter Guide.