NEW YORK - Two candidates in the race for New York City mayor took the stage in a televised debate Wednesday, but the front-runner was notably missing.

Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio did not join Republican nominee Joe Lhota or Independent candidate and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion in the political matchup.

Lhota's campaign blasted his competition for not showing up, saying, "Bill de Blasio can try to duck from the public and cover up his record of wasteful spending, huge tax increases and his willingness to handcuff the NYPD, but he shouldn't insult New Yorkers by hiding from a debate."

De Blasio's camp responded in a statement that said, "There will be three general election debates this fall, more than in any New York City mayoral campaign in nearly 30 years. There are real differences between the candidates and Bill looks forward to presenting his vision for progressive reform directly to New Yorkers."