'Scurrilous!': Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa trade insults in fiery final NYC mayoral debate

Tim Balk, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

Adams, a former NYPD captain, hammered Sliwa for faking crimes to boost the Guardian Angels, and Sliwa charged that Adams lied about his residency during the primary. Adams has said he lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, but has acknowledged often sleeping in at his office in Borough Hall. He has a second home in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The debate ultimately calmed — despite continued shouting, finger-pointing and arm-waving from Sliwa — and the candidates settled into familiar pitches. Sliwa painted himself as a friend of the homeless; Adams touted his plans to gird the city for climate change and to convert outer-borough hotels into supportive housing.

The pair presented divergent views on a range of topics, with Adams supporting congestion pricing and Sliwa opposing it; Adams approving of COVID vaccine mandates and Sliwa slamming them; and Adams giving Mayor de Blasio a B+ grade while Sliwa declared he “can’t wait until” the mayor exits office.

Their demeanors were mismatched too. Adams, despite engaging Sliwa in attacks early on, mostly remained composed amid the onslaught, flashing broad smiles.

When both candidates were given a chance to ask each other questions, Adams declined.

“My goal today is to speak to the voters,” said Adams, the Brooklyn borough president.

And the debate ultimately ended on a friendlier note: Both candidates jumped to praise each other when asked to provide a positive remark about their respective rival.

Adams lauded Sliwa’s work with animals. “I commend him for what he’s doing around cats,” Adams said. (Sliwa has more than a dozen.)


Sliwa, in turn, praised Adams’ vegan diet.

The theatrics seemed unlikely to change much in the race. A survey published by PIX11 on Monday showed Adams carrying support from 61% of likely voters, and Sliwa picking up support from 25% of likely voters.

Ahead of the debate, Adams said he was taking his second showdown with Sliwa seriously. “I’m a guy that believes you take nothing for granted,” he said Monday. “I’m spending hours on prep. I’m doing my reading, my research.”

But when the debate came to a close around 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, he seemed ready to move on from Sliwa, whose campaign he has called a “circus.”

At 8:15 p.m., he was due at the Fortune Society’s Annual Gala, a philanthropic event in Midtown Manhattan.


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