The Cortland Standard and X101 radio station will sponsor and host a pair of debates between candidates for Cortland mayor and Cortlandville supervisor.
“We were approached by the county Democratic and Republican Party chairs because they wanted to have a real debate where the candidates went back and forth — not just making a statement and moving on, they wanted that dynamic debate,” said Cortland Standard Publisher Evan Geibel.
Mayoral candidates Republican Scott Steve and Democrat Bruce Tytler will face off at 7 p.m. Thursday, in a debate moderated by Todd R. McAdam, managing editor of the Cortland Standard, and Vinnie Bellardini, news director for X101.
“We haven’t had a real mayoral race in many, many years in the city of Cortland,” said John Eves, owner and general manager of X101. “I think the viewers will get to hopefully get to know all the candidates a little bit — an hour isn’t a great deal of time, but at least it’ll be in front of a bigger audience.”
The debate will begin with a three-minute statement by each candidate, and then the moderators will ask a question. The first candidate will have three minutes to respond, and then the opponent will have two minutes to rebut.
“Then we reverse the order and ask the other person the same question,” McAdam said. “The original candidate gets to rebut, and we’ll do that for three questions.”
The questions will cover a range of topics, including the Parker School, Gutchess Sports Complex, population change and comprehensive plans. The moderators expect to include a fourth question, asked by a Cortland High School student.
The event will be produced by the Cortland Video Club at Cortland High School and livestreamed by the Cortland Standard, X101, the Cortland Video Club and will also be aired live on Spectrum Channel 17.
“The way the community gets information now is so spread out, and for something that’s important like this you really have to cast as wide a net as possible,” Geibel said. “The issues and the races are important, so if we can get this running in front of as many people as possible, I think that is our responsibility to aim for that.”
The second debate will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 19, when Democrat Douglas Withey and Republican incumbent Tom Williams debate in their race for Cortlandville town supervisor. Early voting begins Oct. 23 and Election Day is Nov. 2.