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Democratic hopefuls for NYC mayor call for full debate to be televised

Every major Democratic candidate for New York City mayor -- except the front-runner -- has asked WNBC-TV to televise their full 90-minute debate Tuesday rather than just the first hour.

The campaign managers for Anthony Weiner, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and John Liu signed a joint letter Saturday to WNBC Channel 4's news director, Susan Sullivan, objecting that the final 30 minutes of the debate -- the Democrats' last before the Sept. 10 primary election -- will be available only online.

"With many voters still undecided, Tuesday's debate presents a real opportunity to help inform them before they head to the polls on the 10th," the campaign managers wrote. "Broadcasting the debate in its entirety will be a valuable service to our city."

WNBC-TV spokeswoman Shawn Fedeman said Saturday night that the station would not go along with the request, noting that all the campaigns and the city's Campaign Finance Board agreed to the format back in June.

Bill de Blasio -- whom the latest opinion polls have vaulted to front-runner status -- did not sign. His campaign spokesman, Dan Levitan, said the de Blasio campaign would not be commenting. An aide for a rival campaign who did not want to be identified said the de Blasio camp was asked to sign the letter but said no.

Quinn, the City Council speaker, is in third place behind former Comptroller Thompson, according to an amNewYork-News 12 Long Island poll released Thursday.

The debate, to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, is sponsored by several news organizations and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

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