De Blasio, Lhota to face off in final debate Wednesday night

Mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio.

Mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio. (Credit: Anthony Lanzilote; Charles Eckert)

Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota will face off Wednesday night in their final debate before Tuesday's election.

With Lhota trailing de Blasio in the polls by more than 45 percentage points, this will be the last chance for the candidates to directly engage each other in the hard-fought race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Experts agreed that de Blasio bested Lhota in the first debate, and that they both held their own in the second faceoff, sparring about crime, education, development, affordable housing, temperament and past experiences.

The first hour of Wednesday's 90-minute debate at WNBC's studios in Rockefeller Center will air on Channel 4 starting at 7. The last half-hour will be aired online, on WOR 710 AM radio and the Cozi cable channel.

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The debate was postponed from Tuesday night after Lhota and de Blasio jointly told the debate's organizer, the city's Campaign Finance Board, that they didn't want to hold the forum on the first anniversary of superstorm Sandy.

Tuesday, Lhota and de Blasio attended events throughout the city to mark the day.

Tuesday night, Lhota -- who was head of the MTA during the storm -- went to a community supper in South Beach on Staten Island, a candlelight vigil in Rockaway and a Mass in Far Rockaway. De Blasio spoke at a commemoration event in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and a vigil in Midland Beach, Staten Island.

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