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UPDATE: Just received bad news from Ron Lombard, News10Now's general manager. Doug Hoffman apparently backed out of today's New10Now debate late last night. So it's canceled.

Here's the statement from Mr. Lombard:
"Regrettably, we must cancel today’s scheduled debate. Last evening, a representative of the Doug Hoffman campaign contacted us, saying their candidate would not attend. That came despite the fact that they had committed to the debate early last week, regardless of Bill Owens’ participation. The Owens campaign this morning confirmed they will not attend. This situation leaves us with no choice but to cancel the debate. We feel this is extremely unfortunate for the voters of the 23rd District, who will be left with very little opportunity to evaluate these candidates’ positions on the issues prior to next Tuesday’s special election."

News10Now, Syracuse, is taping a one-hour debate with the 23rd Congressional District candidates at 1 p.m. afternoon. Well, two of them.

Republican Dede Scozzafava and Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party's candidate, are coming, but Bill Owens, the Democrats' candidate, isn't participating.

Jon Boughtin, Mr. Owens' spokesman, said the campaign couldn't fit the debate in between a morning appearance at the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce breakfast and a 2:45 p.m. tour of the Port of Oswego with Sen. Chuck Schumer.

For many, this will be the first time to hear Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Scozzafava speak about issues of local concern. As one of the panelists, I know the station has come up with some great questions. I'm looking forward to hearing responses from both candidates and adding to the ongoing dialogue.

The debate will be taped at 1 p.m. It airs at 7 p.m. tonight on the channel, which can be seen across Central and Northern New York. It will be reshown at 8 p.m. Nov. 1. After its first broadcast, it will be available at news10now.com and also on News10Now On Demand.

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