Watch the 15th Congressional District Primary Debate

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Lee la versión en español.

There are primaries on June 23rd for 12 of the 13 Congressional seats that represent New York City. None has drawn more political firepower than the race to replace Rep. Jose Serrano, who is retiring after 30 years of representing the 15th district.

The Point CDC, Gotham Gazette and City Limits are teaming up to broadcast a candidate debate on Thursday, May 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will be viewable on Zoom as well as at

Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max will moderate, and panelists will include reporters Daniel Parra of City Limits, Parker Quinlan of the Hunts Point Express and Mott Haven Herald and Sierra Straker from ACTION (Activists Coming to Inform Our Neighborhood).

Twelve candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to election in the 15th, where Republican voters are outnumbered 20 to one and Serrano won re-election in 2018 with 96 percent of the vote.

The field includes former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Michael Blake and Councilmembers Ruben Diaz Sr., Ydanis Rodriguez and Ritchie Torres. The field also includes Tomas Ramos, Samelys Lopez, Frangell Basora, Mark Escoffery-Bey, Chivona R. Newsome, Julio Pabon, Marlene J. Tapper. Candidates who have made the ballot and reported fundraising to the Federal Election Commission have been invited to the debate.

The 15th district is the only Congressional district located entirely within the Bronx. It covers Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Melrose, High Bridge, Port Morris, Clason Point, Morrisania, Concourse Village, East Tremont, Tremont, Morris Heights, Castle Hill, University Heights, Bronx River, Belmont, Shorehaven, Claremont Village, Fordham, West Farms, Longwood, Mount Hope, Soundview and Harding Park.

The debate will be simultaneously translated into Spanish. Spanish speakers can watch the debate online and call in to 1 800-719-6100 for the Spanish audio. (Access code: 114 7388)

The Point’s participation in this debate is part of its work on behalf of the Bronx-Wide Agenda, a set of community priorities for the 2020 election year. A second forum focused on the District 15 race, led by community stakeholders and convened by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, will occur on June 9.

7 thoughts on “Watch the 15th Congressional District Primary Debate

  1. So what about having a black or Latina female reporter as a panelist? All men. Unbelievably backwards in this day and age.

    • Please note that there is a third panelist who has yet to be named. Please also note that we are trying to respect language groups and age diversity as well as gender.

  2. I want to ascertain that the Bronx political machine that criticizes the current administration with dirty play is guilty of doing same. OBVIOUSLY guilty hypocrites. Mr. Julio Pabon is a candidate and consistently has been ignored and left out. Change your status og GUILTY HYPOCRITES by immediately inviting and including Mr. Pabon to debate.

    • The Bronx Democratic organization had nothing to do with the debate. The organizers — City Limits, Gotham Gazette and The Point — decided to require that candidates 1. make the ballot (as a measure of eligibility) and 2. report positive fundraising (as a measure of viability). It is never easy to exclude candidates but given the large field, we wanted voters to hear as much as possible from the candidates most likely to be in serious contention for the office, and it is difficult to seriously contend for any office with $0. The more people at the debate, the more superficial the conversation will be. These are not easy choices but they are unavoidable. Mr. Pabon was one of three candidates who were not invited despite making the ballot.

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