Eric Adams is nearly mayor of New York. But first he has to beat this guy.

“I speak to New Yorkers, not buffoons,” he said, declining to respond to any of the many broadsides that Sliwa shot in his direction.

The debate at the WNBC’s Rockefeller Center studios was co-hosted by POLITICO, Telemundo 47, the Citizens Budget Commission and the New York Urban League – one of two official debates ahead of the November 2nd general election.

Adams has a huge advantage in a city where the Democrats outnumber the Republicans by a 7 to 1 lead. But Sliwa, whose security patrols became synonymous with criminal New York of the 1980s and 1990s, has vowed to give the state’s former lawmaker a chance. Beat Adams for his residency, close ties to large donors, and ethical record as a state Senator, arguing that Adams will not do enough to keep New Yorkers safe.

“I’m the only candidate on this stage who has said I’ll be hiring more cops,” Sliwa said, pushing his plan to increase the size of the NYPD and use stop-and-frisk in high-gang areas to increase activity that revived a controversial tactic previously challenged in court.

Adams, who spent more than 20 years with the NYPD before going into politics, shot back that he was wearing the uniform while his opponent was “playing cop”.

“Let’s be clear, New Yorkers are going to make the decision to designate a person to wear a bulletproof vest, protect children and families of the state, and fight crimes against a person who invented crimes so they could be popular” he said, referring to Sliva’s admission that the Guardian Angels had orchestrated some crimes for the public.

Sliwa persecuted Adams for earlier statements that he would carry a gun to church and be armed as mayor.

“You are a proponent of carrying a gun,” he said. “If you want to reach young men who use weapons in violent acts, you cannot say, ‘Do what I say but not how I do.’ Why did you need a gun? I’ve never used a gun and was shot five times. “

Adams replied that his opponent “makes up things according to the way he made up his crimes”.

The November 2 election winner will replace temporary mayor Bill de Blasio and lead the country’s largest city as it seeks to detach itself from a pandemic that is hampering its economy and fueling widespread public safety and quality of life concerns Has. Adams has described himself as the future of the Democratic Party. He would be the second black man to lead New York.

But Sliwa also refined his attacks, portraying Adams as a tool of the elite who passed his time Fundraising in the Hamptons and vacation in Monaco. Sliwa has been on an active campaign schedule for the past few months – though he’s struggled to attract attention, even at ad-friendly events like his Trip to the apartment in New Jersey Adams is a co-owner with his partner and carries a milk carton with the candidate’s face on it. Adams has keep a lower profile and hesitated to attack his opponent.

In the debate, the two men split sharply over a Covid-19 vaccination mandate for urban workers, which Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that police, firefighters and the rest of the workforce would receive at least one shot by November 1st have to.

“I believe the mayor’s act today was correct,” said Adams, recalling the suffering the city suffered at the height of the pandemic when tens of thousands died. He said he had taken a different approach to the issue and sought an agreement with the unions, but would keep the mandate if he was elected mayor.

Sliwa condemned the move to punish first responders if they fail to get vaccinated and made one of several attempts that night to bind Adams to the outgoing mayor.

“We cheered them on every night at 7:00 am. Then we suddenly decided, de Blasio – who was supporting Eric Adams here, they were a team – that they would suddenly lose their job. That was a horror, ”he said. “We should therefore never fire them.”

Adams also called for a vaccination mandate for public school students, while Sliwa opposed such a move.

When asked to explain why New Yorkers should trust them, sparks flew over the face of Sliva’s admission that he had fabricated crimes and persistent questions about whether Adams really lived in the Brooklyn brownstone he claims to be that it is his home.

Sliwa said he apologized for his mistakes and took the opportunity to beat up his opponent who was courting business leaders and financiers.

“Eric Adams is with the elite in the suites – the TikTok girls,” he said.

Adams tried to explain why he was filing tax returns saying the house he claims to live in is not his primary residence and blamed him for the problem Accountant who was homeless at the time. But he couldn’t tell how many nights he was staying at Bedford Stuyvesant’s apartment on the first floor of a building he owned.

“I’m sticking to my brownstone. I live in brooklyn. This is my main residence, ”he said, adding that he sometimes lives in his Borough Hall office. “I don’t write down how many days I’ve been there. But there I lay my head. “

Sliwa responded by referencing a POLITICO report that Adams was taking a summer trip to Monaco, a destination he would not publicly announce. “You spend more time on vacation in Monaco,” he said. “Who is going to Monaco? The rich, the famous. “

The candidates disagreed on a number of other issues: Adams said he supported the recent decision to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from the council chamber, while Sliwa said “absolutely not”.

Sliwa, who has made animal rights an important part of his platform – discussing the 15 rescue cats who share a studio apartment with him and his wife and promising to open no-kill shelters – said he would “absolutely” die Forbid “barbaric”. Horse drawn industry from Central Park. Adams, who won the support of the coachmen’s union, did not take a clear position on this.

And they argued over traffic jam prices, the plan to charge drivers for entry into core Manhattan areas. Adams supported the plan with certain exceptions, such as people coming into town for chemotherapy treatments.

“We have to deal with traffic jams in our city and it costs companies a lot of money because we don’t,” he said. Sliwa, on the other hand, said the plan would “crush the middle class.”

According to recent fundraising reports, Adams has raised $ 2.4 million in donations since August, bringing his balance to nearly $ 8 million. Sliwa raised $ 200,000 over the same period and has $ 1.2 million after receiving public matching funding in the fall.

The Democrat’s financial advantage became apparent on Wednesday evening: The debate was barely over when an Adams advertisement ran on NBC.

Amanda Eisenberg and Myah Ward contributed to this report.

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