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Broome Exec Race: No Broadcast Debates

With a month to go before Election Day, it appears this may be the first campaign for Broome County executive that will not have any broadcast joint appearances by the candidates.

County executive Debra Preston’s campaign released a statement Friday afternoon characterizing much of the discussion surrounding debates as “silly campaign rhetoric.”

The statement indicated the Republican incumbent is “looking forward” to debating issues at an October 25th forum at Broome Community College. That planned event — scheduled for 7 p.m. — is sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

The campaign statement said contrary to Democratic challenger Tarik Abdelazim’s “silly assertions and campaign gimmicks,” Preston has “never shied away” from a public debate.

The statement noted Preston appeared at a chamber of commerce forum, which was open to people who purchased tickets. Chamber president Louis Santoni banned the use of video and still cameras at that event.

The Preston campaign statement also indicated the county executive already was scheduled to appear with Abdelazim at a Realtors Association forum in the coming week.

The statement, attributed to campaign manager Bijoy Datta, said: “Mr. Abdelazim doesn’t have a job so it’s easy for him to say ‘any time, any place.’ But the rest of us have to work for a living.”

Reacting to the Preston campaign statement, Abdelazim told WNBF News that he’s pleased with the confirmation of her appearance at the League of Women voters debate.

But Abdelazim said the rules for the event aren’t known yet. He said he wants an open, free-form debate where cameras are welcome.

Abdelazim said if “there’s any effort to gag the media” by restricting coverage, he will not participate.

A standing invitation has been issued to Preston and Abdelazim to appear for an hour on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program to discuss county issues before the election.

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