The candidates for Buffalo Mayor in 2013.
BUFFALO, N.Y. - With exactly two weeks left until Buffalo voters head to the polls for the democratic primary for Mayor, the two candidates in that race, plus the Republican challenger awaiting the winner in the general election, will square off in a live debate you can see here on Channel 2 and wgrz.com at 8:00 p.m..
2 On Your Side caught up with each candidate for a preview of what we can expect in tonight's debate.
Each of of the three candidates has his own distinct style, which is likely to be reflected in this final debate before the Democratic Primary on September 10.
The candidate with the least to lose tonight is Republican Sergio Rodriguez, who's not on the ballot until the November general election. As he always does, Rodriguez spent debate day leveling a blistering attack on the mayor for the city's crime, offering his own twelve-point plan.
"Where is the mayor?" Rodriguez said during his press conference. "He is nowhere to be found, ever."
REPORTER: Can we expect you to be similarly aggressive during the debate?
RODRIGUEZ: You better believe it, yes. Well, look, all I am doing is tapping into the energy that residents in the City of Buffalo are giving me. People are not happy about the lack of leadership, the lack of vision, the lack of a sense of urgency that exists in the current administration.
Meantime, the mayor celebrated the opening of a new field in South Buffalo.
Always cautious, he played it safe by repeating over and over again the word that's the theme of his campaign: progress.
REPORTER: At some point, are you going to decide to punch back a little bit?
MAYOR: Well, I've been very satisfied to talk about the progress we've been making in the city. Progress like Mulroy field. This is great progress -- $1.2 million of public-private partnership. I've been satisfied to talk about the over $1.7 billion in economic development taking place in the city of Buffalo. Tremendous progress.
Somewhere in between cautious and aggressive is Democrat Bernie Tolbert, who is the candidate with the most riding on the debate. He spent the morning at home, prepping. Polling shows he has some ground to gain and quickly. A WGRZ-Buffalo News poll conducted by Siena College from August 18th shows Brown beating Tolbert by nearly a 2-1 margin (61% - 32%) if the Democratic primary were held that day.
REPORTER: Should we expect you to come out swinging a bit tonight?
TOLBERT: You should expect that I'll be aggressive. I want to get my message out and show the difference between myself and the current administration -- the current mayor. That's going to be basically my plan for tonight.
Beginning tonight at 8:00, you can see it live here on WGRZ-Channel 2, as well as WNED, and online at wgrz.com.