The first of two debates between Republican Congressional hopefuls Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman is expected to draw a substantial crowd.
The debate is being hosted by the Upstate New York Tea Party and is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the West Side Ballroom on New York Road at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.
Mark Barie is chairman of UNYTEA. He says the first debate is expected to draw more than 200 people.
“We’ll be prepared to seat a minimum of 200 and as many as 300 spectators,” Barie said. “We expect a large turnout from both our own ranks but also from the public at large.”
Hoffman, a Saranac Lake accountant, is being backed by UNYTEA and has the Conservative Party line as election season approaches. Doheny is a businessman from Watertown with backing from county GOP committees and independents.
The debate features opening and closing remarks from both candidates and a series of questions from a panelist of local reports, including: Jeremiah Papineau of Denton Publications, Pat Bradley of WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and Joe Lotemplio of the Plattsburgh Press Republican.
Barie will serve as moderator, which he says may be tricks given UNYTEA’s vocal support of Hoffman.
“Neither I nor members of the audience will pose questions to the candidates,” he said. “We view our sponsorship of the debate as a public service and will conduct the event in an impartial manner.”
A second debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. That debate will be moderated by WNBZ News Director Chris Morris and features a panelist of North Country journalists, including: Peter Crowley of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio, and Matt Bosley of Denton Publications.