Joe Lhota's long-shot hope of luring Bill de Blasio into five debates, hoping the favorite would implode or spontaneously combust onstage, is just not going to happen. Tonight, NY1 will host the first debate of the general election, but only Lhota and Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrión will be there. De Blasio, up by as many as 50 points in the polls, has opted not to attend even though his schedule is open, because why would he?
"There will be three general election debates this fall, more than in any New York City mayoral campaign in nearly 30 years," said De Blasio's spokesman Dan Levitan in defense of the dodging tactic. "There are real differences between the candidates and Bill looks forward to presenting his vision for progressive reform directly to New Yorkers."
Lhota's team has countered, "Their strategy of ducking the press and public since winning the nomination will grow weary on New Yorkers who want to see leadership from their next mayor."
But even the Republican's biggest supporters, like Home Depot founder and huge donor Ken Langone, have given up. Today, he told The Wall Street Journal plainly, of De Blasio, "He's going to win."