Bill de Blasio Skipped Televised Debate for Fund-Raiser

Bill de Blasio at today's press conference.

Bill de Blasio at today’s press conference.

Mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Adolfo Carrión faced off last night at a televised debate, but it was somewhat awkward because the race’s front-runner, Democrat Bill de Blasio, was nowhere to be seen.

It turns out that Mr. de Blasio, who is dramatically ahead in public polls and fund-raising, was using the time to raise still more cash, a campaign spokesman told Politicker today after repeated questioning.

Last night, the campaign did not respond to an inquiry about his location. And at a press conference rolling out the endorsements of women’s rights groups this afternoon, Mr. de Blasio was even more opaque about his whereabouts.

“I’m sure we can get you my exact whereabouts, I don’t remember the exact hour but we’ll get them for you,” said Mr. de Blasio, whose staff declined to provide the exact location or time of the fund-raiser.

Still, Mr. de Blasio insisted that the three debates he’s agreed to were a healthy number. The first is scheduled for October 14.

“I’ve said very consistently, by agreeing to three televised debates, we are having the most televised debates of any mayoral campaign in a general election since 1981,” he said. “I think we have a good number.”

Mr. Lhota, the Republican nominee, and Adolfo Carrión, the Independence Party’s pick, would likely disagree, however. Both have accused Mr. de Blasio of nursing his lead in the polls by avoiding overly exposing himself to the press and to voters.

Last night, Mr. Carrión called the decision to skip the debate “disrespectful to the voters” and Mr. Lhota said, “It’s unfortunate that he wants to diss the people of the City of New York this way.”

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