G.O.P. Rivals Trade Insults in Chaotic N.Y.C. Mayoral Debate

They fought over virtually every part, hurled insults forwards and backwards and precipitated a lot normal chaos that each had their microphones reduce off at completely different instances.

And if that wasn’t sufficient, the 2 Republicans working for mayor of New York City even introduced props — a photograph and a stuffed bear — to their first main debate on Wednesday.

It wasn’t as if the 2 candidates, Curtis Sliwa, the founding father of the Guardian Angels, and Fernando Mateo, an area businessman, lacked frequent floor: They agreed that public security was essentially the most crucial challenge dealing with town and have pledged to “re-fund the police” and so as to add officers to the division, as an alternative of defunding the police as some Democrats need to do.

But for essentially the most half, the boys prevented coverage dialogue in favor of unveiled criticisms of one another. It started with Mr. Sliwa criticizing Mr. Mateo for his fund-raising efforts for Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.

“Bill de Blasio single-handedly destroyed this city,” Mr. Sliwa stated, earlier than holding up a photograph of Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Mateo collectively.

“Along with you,” Mr. Mateo, a restaurateur, shouted again, repeatedly.

They continued to yell through the digital debate even whereas muted, pointing their fingers towards their cameras.

The candidates have been as soon as mates, however the race has turned bitter forward of the Republican main on June 22. Mr. Mateo referred to as Mr. Sliwa, who joined the Republican Party final 12 months, a “compulsive liar” and a comic.

“Curtis, you’re a clown, and you’re making a mockery of this very important primary,” Mr. Mateo stated.

The crowded Democratic main has obtained way more consideration and is prone to resolve the subsequent mayor in a metropolis the place Democrats outnumber Republicans by greater than six to at least one. Still, Mr. Sliwa and Mr. Mateo are preventing laborious to turn into the face of the Republican Party in the final election in November.

There have been some temporary settlement on coverage points: Both need to increase the cap on constitution colleges and eliminate velocity cameras. Both stated cops shouldn’t must dwell in town, and each need to hold the Specialized High School Admissions Test as the one standards for entry to elite excessive colleges.

Mr. Sliwa repeatedly accused Mr. Mateo of not driving the subway — “there is no subway stop in Irvington,” he stated, referring to the village in Westchester County the place Mr. Mateo owns a house.

Mr. Mateo, oddly, accused Mr. Sliwa of being a subway rider as if that have been an insult in a metropolis that had practically six million day by day subway riders earlier than the pandemic took a toll on ridership.

They disagreed over whether or not President Donald J. Trump received the 2020 election. Mr. Mateo stated he did; Mr. Sliwa stated he didn’t. Mr. Mateo voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020; Mr. Sliwa didn’t.

“I have had a love-hate relationship with former President Donald Trump going back 30 years,” Mr. Sliwa stated.

Both candidates stated they supported a choice by Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican from Staten Island, to vote to not certify the 2020 presidential election outcomes.

Mr. Sliwa and Mr. Mateo are first-time candidates and publicity hounds who’ve appeared in the tabloids for years. Mr. Sliwa, 67, turned a celeb in the 1980s because the founding father of the Guardian Angels and was a radio host identified for outrageous feedback. He has staged a collection of attention-grabbing occasions — together with a mask-burning ceremony as members of the Trammps sang their 1976 disco hit, “Disco Inferno,” and a 24-hour subway tour the place he visited the location of a bloody stabbing.

Mr. Mateo, 63, was born in the Dominican Republic and desires to be town’s first Hispanic mayor. He is maybe greatest identified for his “Toys for Guns” program in the 1990s, and he ran a carpet enterprise and led teams that advocated for livery drivers and bodega homeowners.

Understand the N.Y.C. Mayoral Race

Who’s Running for Mayor? There are greater than a dozen individuals nonetheless in the race to turn into New York City’s subsequent mayor, and the first will probably be held on June 22. Here’s a rundown of the candidates.Get to Know the Candidates: We requested main candidates for mayor questions on every part from police reform and local weather change to their favourite bagel order and exercise routine.What is Ranked-Choice Voting? New York City started utilizing ranked-choice voting for main elections this 12 months, and voters will be capable to record as much as 5 candidates in order of choice. Confused? We may also help.

An earlier debate hosted by WABC-AM this spring turned nasty when Mr. Sliwa introduced up the fund-raising challenge. Mr. Mateo claimed that he had damaging data on Mr. Sliwa.

“I have enough dirt to cover your body 18 feet over,” Mr. Mateo stated.

At the talk on Wednesday, Mr. Mateo stated he had bundled cash for Mr. de Blasio, however that he did nothing unlawful. He in contrast it to different Republicans who had donated to Democrats in the previous, like Mr. Trump, who gave cash to Hillary Clinton, and the billionaire John Catsimatidis, who gave to Mr. de Blasio.

“That’s what we do when we’re in business,” he stated.

Mr. Mateo and Mr. Sliwa had been mates for 40 years, and Mr. Mateo as soon as put in carpet in Mr. Sliwa’s house. But the feud started after they each entered the race.

The Republican Party has been weakened in town in latest years, and its leaders are break up between the 2 candidates. The Manhattan, Queens and Bronx events endorsed Mr. Mateo. The Staten Island and Brooklyn events backed Mr. Sliwa.

Mr. Mateo has raised more cash — about $520,000 — and says he’ll qualify for public matching funds quickly. Mr. Sliwa has raised about $315,000.

The prime Democratic candidates have raised way more. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, has collected greater than $9 million by way of personal and public funds.

With much less cash for tv promoting, the Republicans have been attempting to get in entrance of reports cameras as a lot as potential. Mr. Sliwa is “pure showbiz, and he’s awfully good at it,” stated Kenneth Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College.

“The name of the game in the Republican primary is going to be name recognition,” he stated, “and that generates pressure to be more and more outrageous to get more and more free publicity.”

Near the top of the hourlong debate, Mr. Mateo abruptly launched his personal prop: “Trumpy Bear” — a stuffed animal sporting a crimson tie and that includes Trump-like hair. Then he criticized Mr. Sliwa’s residing preparations.

“He lives in a 320-square-foot apartment with 13 cats,” Mr. Mateo stated.

“Fifteen rescue cats,” Mr. Sliwa corrected him.