New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will debate his Democratic primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Wednesday, Aug. 29, two weeks before voters hit the polls.
WCBS-TV will host and broadcast New York’s lone 2018 gubernatorial debate. The planned debate will be a face-off between the two-term governor, who last debated third-party challengers at Hofstra in 2010, and Nixon, a first-time candidate best known for her role on Sex And The City.
“With the New York State Democratic Primary drawing near, CBS2 and Hofstra University have invited both Democratic candidates for Governor to participate in an hourlong, commercial-free debate on August 29 at Hofstra University,” the university said in a statement. “We look forward to providing New Yorkers with the opportunity to hear both candidates explain their positions on the important issues facing our state.”
Cuomo held a nearly 36-point lead over Cuomo as of the most recent survey, a Quinnipiac University poll of 415 registered Democrats released in July.
Nixon slammed the process and timing of the debate, but agreed to it nonetheless.
“Cuomo has agreed to participate in a debate hosted by WCBS, with the format and all of the details negotiated in advance, then presented to our campaign on a take-it-or-leave-it basis,” Nixon said in a statement. “The result: a debate at Andrew Cuomo’s chosen location and TV station, in his preferred format, with a favorable audience, and on a date in the last week of August when a minimum of New Yorkers will be watching.
“CBS management has acknowledged that the only way to get Governor Cuomo to show up is by giving him everything he wants,” the statement continued. “We weren’t even given a seat at the table.
“We understand this isn’t a level playing field,” she added. “It hasn’t been since the very beginning. Nothing is easy when you’re an outsider, and it’s even harder when you’re a woman.
“Cynthia will debate Governor Cuomo backwards and in high heels if she has to,” she concluded.
WCBS-TV said it issued debate invitations to the Cuomo and Nixon campaigns a week ago.
“Ultimately, it is up to the campaigns to agree on the format and other details,” the station said in a statement.
The governor’s re-election campaign called Nixon paranoid, then reiterated calls that she release her taxes.
“Tricky Nixon is trying to change the topic,” the campaign said in a statement. “It’s time for Nixon — who filed as a corporation—to release 5 years of her taxes. Even Jumaane Williams will. What is she hiding?”
The primaries are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 13.