All three mayoral candidates said they are willing to debate more if a sponsor turns up for additional showdowns.
“I’m open to anything that’s being assembled,” Mayor Art Ward said Friday.
The only scheduled debate is set for Thursday at a breakfast meeting of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce for which people who want to attend have to pay. It will be taped and televised later, however.
Republican mayoral hopeful Mary Alford said it would be nice to have “a Lincoln-Douglas style debate “where the candidates actually face off within a timed comment-rebuttal structure.”
“It’s a bit trickier to set up and manage but I think it might be exciting,” she said.
Independent mayoral candidate Gary Lawton, who rounds out the field, said he’s willing to talk to any group that’s interested in hearing what he has to say.
Ward said he hasn’t learned of any potential debates other than the one put together by the chamber.
“Time is getting real short,” the mayor said, but if someone else wants to sponsor a session, he’d try to get there.
“If my schedule is such that I can be there, it sounds good to me,” Ward said.
Alford said she recognizes “that time is short and financing a challenge, but if there is anyone or any group willing to sponsor such a debate, I say let’s do it.”
In past municipal races, forums and debates have been sponsored by a variety of organizations, including the Federal Hill Association, student groups at the high schools, senior advocates and others. But it doesn’t appear any have plans to step forward this year.
Lawton said it is “unfortunate” the chamber is charging for attendance at the sole debate on the calendar.
The mayoral debate, moderated by television newsman Tom Monahan, will be broadcast on Comcast channel 96 and AT&T’s U-Verse channel 99 at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19 and again at 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 1.
There is also a City Council debate, which is free to attend, that begins at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20 at City Hall. Bristol Press Publisher Mike Schroeder will serve as its moderator.
The council debates will be shown live on the same channels as the mayoral contest. It will be shown again at 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25 and at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The election is Tuesday, November 3. Mayors and councilors serve two-year terms.
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