For much of the mayoral campaign that followed Eric Adams’s highly contested Democratic primary victory, most of his focus has been spent on fund-raising, vetting potential administration officials and preparing for his likely transition to the mayoralty.
But for at least one hour, Mr. Adams will be forced to devote some attention to his Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, as they go head-to-head on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the first of two official debates among the two leading candidates for mayor of New York City.
Both men say they are friends. But Mr. Adams — who is widely favored to win the Nov. 2 election because Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the city — has largely avoided engaging Mr. Sliwa since the June 22 primary. The debate will be one of the first chances for the public to see the two men together.
Mr. Sliwa, 67, a founder of the Guardian Angels and a radio host, has appeared at places where Mr. Adams was holding a news conference to speak with the gathered reporters and has criticized his opponent’s policies.
“Eric Adams has cast himself as the blue-collar guy and now all we see him with is the hedge-fund people and the developers,” Mr. Sliwa said. “I’m in the subway, the streets and the projects.”
Mr. Adams, responding to Mr. Sliwa’s criticisms, has said that his opponent can’t be taken seriously.
“We need a serious person to deal with serious problems in our city,” Mr. Adams, 61, said recently.
In order to qualify for the debate, candidates had to have spent 2.5 percent of the expenditure limit for the mayor’s race, or $182,150, by Sept. 27, according to officials from the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Here’s how to watch the debate:
A team of reporters from The New York Times will provide live commentary and analysis.
The one-hour debate will be aired on WNBC-TV Channel 4 and also on Telemundo, Channel 47, in Spanish.
NYC Life TV will offer a simulcast on Channel 25.1.