Sharpton will host a debate for 2013 Democrats, and possibly others

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Rev. Al Sharpton is hosting a mayoral debate on January 15 in Harlem, part of Sharpton's annual Martin Luther King Day celebration.

Sharpton's gift for rhetorical flair has been widely recognized, notably as a presidential candidate in the 2004 race, and now as a host on MSNBC.

Participating in the event will be the four major Democratic candidates: New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York City Comptroller John Liu, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former New York City comptroller Bill Thompson.

I emailed Rachel Noerdlinger, a spokesperson for Sharpton, to ask whether other candidates had been invited, specifically former councilman Sal Albanese, a Democrat; former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrion Jr., who was a Democrat but is now not affiliated with any party; George McDonald and Tom Allon, former Democrats now running as Republicans, Rev. A.R. Bernard, a Republican, and Joe Lhota, the Republican former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration.

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"They were all invited," she responded.

I reached out to a spokesman for Carrion, Davidson Goldin, who told me, "Adolfo has not yet received an invitation and would certainly want to attend as he has done so many times in the past."

The debate is set to take place at National Action Network headquarters at 106 West 145th Street at 6 p.m, to be followed by a public policy forum featuring many other Democratic elected officials.

Earlier in the day, Sharpton will be featured on a panel in Washington alongside Martin Luther King III, Secretary of Heath and Human Services Kathleen Seblius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

UPDATE: Albanese's director of communications, Todd Brogan, emailed this statement:

"To my knowledge, Sal has not received an invitation to the Reverend Sharpton's forum. I've reached out to his spokesperson for details. The Reverend and Sal have known each other for years, so he would obviously be interested in attending and sharing his unparalleled experience, record of independence, and progressive vision for New York City."