Wake County

Raleigh mayor and challenger agree to a televised debate

Charles Francis, left, and Nancy McFarlane, right, will tape a debate at the studios of Spectrum News Friday afternoon.
Charles Francis, left, and Nancy McFarlane, right, will tape a debate at the studios of Spectrum News Friday afternoon. N&O file photo

Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis will face off in a debate on Friday ahead of the Nov. 7 runoff election.

The debate will take place at the studio of cable network Spectrum News on Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh. The network has proposed taping the afternoon event and broadcasting it commercial-free as a 30-minute program at 7:30 p.m. that night. It also plans to broadcast the event at 10 a.m. Sunday, according to a letter sent by Spectrum to the candidates.

There will be no public audience at the debate, which “Capital Tonight” host Tim Boyum will moderate.

In the weeks leading up to the Oct. 10 election, Francis said he had challenged McFarlane to a televised debate but that she had declined. McFarlane responded Monday by saying she had debated Francis “multiple times,” pointing to several candidate forums she and Francis had both attended, including one streamed live online by WRAL.

PolitiFact researched McFarlane’s claim and found that her definition of “debate” doesn’t align with definitions offered by political experts.

McFarlane said she’d be happy to debate Francis one-on-one.

After coming in second on Oct. 10, Francis announced that he would challenge McFarlane to a runoff. McFarlane, who is seeking her fourth term, won 48 percent of the vote, just shy of the majority needed to avoid the possibility of a runoff. Francis won 36 percent, and Paul Fitts, a third candidate, won about 14 percent.

Early voting begins Thursday at the Wake County Board of Elections office on Salisbury Street in downtown Raleigh.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan

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