This morning, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky challenged his four Democratic rivals in the attorney general’s race to a series of 13 debates, to be held across the state.
Not surprisingly, all of the candidates said they are anxious and eager to debate the issues with their fellow candidates–though enthusiasm for debates often wanes when it comes to agreeing on a schedule and a format.
The leading vote-getter at last month’s convention, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice–who, in the conventional wisdom, would seem to have the most to lose from so many debates–said she favors a “healthy debate schedule.”
“As the candidate with the best professional experience to be attorney general, and a fresh face who can bring independent leadership to Albany and energize a public disillusioned by politics, District Attorney Rice is looking forward to a healthy debate schedule that lets as many New Yorkers as possible make an informed decision,” wrote Rice spokesman Shams Tarek in an email. “As for a specific schedule, the media and other independent entities should be part of the discussion as well.”
State Senator Eric Schneiderman, tapping his inner-Al Gore, said he would debate “anytime, anywhere,” and proposed that each debate should be focused on a single issue. (Mr. Schneiderman suggested two of his favorites as examples: Rockefeller Drug Law reform and LGBT issues.)
“Eric Schneiderman is proud of his progressive record of reform and is eager to debate the other Attorney General candidates anytime, anywhere,” wrote a spokesman, James Freedland, in an email. “We look forward to highlighting the differences between Eric’s progressive accomplishments reforming gun laws, ending the Rockefeller drug laws, and cleaning up ethics in Albany — and the old conservative policies that simply don’t work.”
Former Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo–who has done quite well for himself upstate, having secured the endorsement of 26 county chairs–echoed the “any time” sentiment.
“Eric will engage with his opponents at any time – whether at candidate debates or other forums,” wrote spokesperson Lauren Passalacqua. “He is committed first and foremost to talking to real New Yorkers and providing innovative ideas that address their concerns. That’s why he has already visited each of our 62 counties and released detailed policy statements on issues important to voters and their communities.”
And Sean Coffey, a former Navy Captain and federal prosecutor–whose outsider candidacy would seem to benefit the most from a lot of debates–replied with his own letter back to Brodsky.
“I welcome any opportunities to talk about the critical role New York’s next Attorney General will have in getting government working again,” Mr. Coffey wrote. “I am more than happy to work with you and the other candidates in this race to schedule as many debates as necessary and possible.”
Mr. Coffey’s letter references–twice–that he’s looking forward to a Dutchess County candidates forum with three of the other candidates this weekend. A spokesperson for Ms. Rice said she’ll be unable to attend due to other obligations on Long Island.