Sen. Charles Schumer, the last statewide candidate to resist a debate before Election Day, has agreed to a showdown with GOP challenger Jay Townsend, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The two will meet on Oct. 24, at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Of all New York’s statewide candidates, Schumer holds the widest lead in polls. But as The Journal noted Wednesday, he had not yet agreed to any debates against Townsend.
Schumer is seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate. When he ran for re-election in 2004, he debated his opponent twice, once in New York City and once upstate.
Townsend, a political consultant who lives in the Hudson Valley, had been seeking a debate for weeks. He had been making public appearances with a cardboard cutout of the senator to make his point.
The Republican candidate had also alleged that Schumer was ducking debates in part to avoid talking about his leadership role in an unpopular Congress, and what Townsend called “the worst kept secret in Washington”: that the senator could become majority leader in the Senate depending on the national outcome of the November election.