Schenectady County

Hopes precede Schenectady mayoral debate

The only debate that both mayoral candidates will participate in is coming up fast, and some residen

The only debate that both mayoral candidates will participate in is coming up fast, and some residents are hoping there will be fireworks.

Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy and opponent Roger Hull will face off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the GE Theater at Proctors.

McCarthy is a Democrat. Hull will be on the Republican and Alliance Party lines; he founded the Alliance Party last year.

Members of both major parties wish the two men could debate each other directly instead of getting questions from the audience. The direct debate format, seen this year in the presidential primary debates, would allow them to ask each other questions intended to pierce holes in the weaknesses in each other’s positions.

But some residents are confident the two men will manage to do that anyway, with the one-minute rebuttal allowed after each question.

Some are even rooting for the candidates to lose their cool and show the public their true colors.

“What I would like is questions that force the candidates to reveal their character,” said Michael Brockbank, a Hull supporter.

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jeffrey Clark is also hoping the candidates — or their questions — will force them to say more than the phrases they’ve perfected for the campaign.

“I certainly understand all the spin and all the issues of what I need to say to get elected,” Clark said. “But I’d really like to hear some substance. Let’s really talk turkey here. What are your plans?”

Resident Fred Lee added that his ideal debate would include both candidates taking out a bond against their campaign promises. If they failed to live up to their hype, as he put it, the city would get the money.

Members of both major parties are confident that in a true debate on the issues, their candidate would be proven superior. So both said they’re hoping their candidate takes every opportunity to force the other to talk details.

“I’d like to actually see a debate, where candidates can ask direct questions,” said Republican County Committee Chairman Thomas Buchanan. “To provide insight into what the candidates’ positions are, you need to have follow-up direct questions.”

Schenectady City Committee Chairman Richard Naylor agreed, saying he wants the candidates to “probe the details.”

“It’s important to have rebuttal and a discussion,” he said. “I think it articulates the positions in a very thorough way.”

The debate is sponsored by The Daily Gazette. Opinion columnist Carl Strock will moderate and ask the first question. A panel of journalists will ask six questions — two questions each — and then Strock will read questions submitted by the audience. All questions will be asked of both candidates.

The panel includes Kathleen Moore from the Daily Gazette, Greg Floyd from CBS6 and Reed Shepard from WGY.

The candidates will get two minutes to answer each question and one minute to respond to each other’s answer.

They will also get two minutes for an opening statement and two minutes for closings. The debate will end at 9 p.m.

Categories: Schenectady County

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