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Congressional debate airs tonight on WBFO and WNED

WBFO News file photo

A recent poll shows a dead heat in the race for the newly-redrawn 27th Congressional District, which links the suburbs and rural areas between Buffalo and Rochester.

The two candidates will face off tonight in a debate in the WNED studios with a live broadcast on WNED-TV and 88.7 WBFO-FM at 7  p.m.

Incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul won the seat in a special election last year in a district that is heavily Republican. Her GOP challenger is former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.

WBFO News Director Jim Ranney will moderate the event with questions offered by Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News, Claudine Ewing of WGRZ and Julie Phillip of WXXI in Rochester.

St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute government teacher Ted Lina, who moderates yearly debates at the Kenmore high school, says this evening's debate will give voters an opportunity to hear from the candidates directly.

"Even though they've been running ads, the ads tell us very little about the candidates. They tend to tell us more about the negative aspects of their opponent," Lina told WBFO News.

Lina says voters tuning in tonight will be looking for substantive answers.

"I think any personal attacks or character attacks are looked at with a great deal of suspicion. I think the average voter is more sophisticated than that and they're interested in, 'What will you do to support this district?,'" Lina told WBFO News.

Tonight's debate will also be aired on radio and television in Rochester and will be streamed live on the Internet. Afterward, WBFO Assistant News Director Eileen Buckley will be joined by former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello and ex-deputy Erie County Executive Carl Calabrese for analysis on Channel 2.

Election Day is three weeks from today.

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