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Watch the NYC Public Advocate Debate Ahead of the Election

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (left) is debating challenger Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil on Oct. 19.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (left) is debating challenger Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil on Oct. 19.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY, Devi Nampiaparampil/Facebook

They want to advocate for the people of New York City. But first, they have to debate each other.

Two contenders for the job of city public advocate will face off on Tuesday in the only Campaign Finance Board-sponsored debate for the office before the general election on Nov. 2.

The CFB will host the debate between incumbent Democrat Jumaane Williams and Republican Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil at 7 p.m. It will be broadcast by Spectrum News NY1 and NYC TV, and live-streamed by THE CITY:

The public advocate acts as a kind of watchdog or ombudsman for the city, and is first in line for mayor if the mayor cannot do his or her job. For more information about the candidates, read our guide to the Nov. 2 election here.

By law, the CFB must hold official candidate debates as described by the criteria in the Campaign Finance Act, which includes certain fundraising and spending minimums. The Oct. 19 debate, however, is not required under that law because two or more candidates did not meet the Act’s thresholds.

The two candidates taking part in Tuesday’s debate, Williams and Nampiaparampil, met part of the legal threshold for fundraising and volunteered to join the debate.

Two other public advocate candidates who will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot — Libertarian Devin Balkind and Conservative and Independent candidate Anthony Herbert — will not appear.

Tuesday’s debate is co-hosted by the CFB along with, NY1, THE CITY, Citizens Union, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Social Work Votes (Columbia School of Social Work & Latino Leadership Institute).

To find out who exactly is on your ballot for all offices on Nov. 2, use this Board of Elections search tool. Type in your address, click “Look Up,” then click “View Sample Ballot.”

The CFB will also host two debates among the two qualifying mayoral candidates, Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa. The faceoffs will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. on WNBC and Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. on WABC.

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