Spectrum News will host a debate Wednesday night among the Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, including sitting Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado in his first and only scheduled debate appearance.
“Inside City Hall” host Errol Louis and “Capital Tonight” host Susan Arbetter will moderate the debate Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m.
Delgado will face off against Ana Maria Archila, a longtime organizer and the running mate of New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Diana Reyna, a former New York City councilmember and Brooklyn deputy borough president who is running alongside Queens-Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi.
The debate comes just days before early voting for the primary begins on Saturday, June 18. Primary day is June 28. See NY1’s voting guide for more information on when, where, and how to vote.
Here are five things to watch for during the debate:
1. Criticism of Delgado’s ascension to office, debate participation
A two-term congressman for an upstate district, Delgado was selected by Gov. Kathy Hochul after her previous pick, former Harlem state Sen. Brian Benjamin, was arrested and charged in a bribery scheme after only seven months in office.
Archila and Reyna have both criticized Hochul’s efforts to pass a law that removed Benjamin from the ballot and allowed Delgado to take his place. Reyna said the move would give “ammunition” to Republicans, and Archila accused the governor of changing “the rules of the game at the last minute.”
Archila and Reyna also took onus with Delgado’s unwillingness to take part in debates and forums since he began campaigning. The NY1 debate will be his first appearance alongside his two opponents.
2. Cryptocurrency controversy
As Hochul considers signing legislation that would place a moratorium on certain kinds of energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining opposed by environmental activists, Archila has focused attacks on the governor and Delgado for accepting money from a super PAC funded by billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
3. Candidates’ identities
Archila, a longtime immigrant rights activist born in Colombia, and Reyna, the first Dominican-American elected to the City Council, would be the first Latinas elected to statewide office in New York.
Archila would also be the first openly LGBTQ statewide official in New York’s history.
Delgado’s cultural identity, who Hochul heralded as Afro-Latino when announcing his appointment, has been the subject of some questioning since assuming office. He is an African-American whose father comes from Cape Verde, an island off the west coast of Africa and a former Portuguese colony, and whose maternal grandfather had Latino heritage.
4. Differences on public safety, guns
All three candidates have tackled public safety in their campaigns, a top concern for New Yorkers, according to a recent Spectrum News NY1/Siena College poll. Delgado named it one of his two top priorities. Reyna, whose husband is an NYPD lieutenant, said public safety was the central focus of her campaign.
Reyna and Suozzi have a 15-point crime plan that calls for bail reform rollbacks and the institution of a “dangerousness” standard judges can consider when setting bail — something Hochul tried and failed to introduce during budget negotiations. The Reyna-Suozzi plan also calls for more precision policing, supports Mayor Eric Adams’ “neighborhood safety teams,” the return of “stop, question, and frisk,” and the removal of district attorneys who “refuse to enforce the laws of New York State.” Suozzi said he would remove Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in an ad in January.
Their plan also calls for the expansion of ShotSpotter technology, improved implementation of red flag laws and a focus on identifying gang members and troubled young people with prevention and mental health programs.
Archila’s “10-Point Plan for Safe and Thriving Communities” calls for a $1 billion investment in gun violence prevention and victim services programs, an end to the criminalization of low-level drug possession and greater police accountability.
But her campaign website says “policing has a critical role to play” in responding to and investigating homicides, shootings and “serial sexual assaults.”
5. How to tackle inflation and rising costs for New Yorkers
While Delgado and Reyna’s running mates have both called for cutting taxes — and in Hochul’s case, actually did cut taxes for some New Yorkers — Archila’s campaign is calling for higher taxes on the wealthy and raising the minimum wage to $20 an hour in New York City and $17.50 outside of the city. The Suozzi-Reyna campaign has called for cutting property and income taxes, reducing Medicaid spending and creating job programs for non-college educated New Yorkers in building trades, computer programming and other areas that don’t require a four-year degree.