LISTEN: Cuomo tells 1010 WINS press is ‘playing politics’ with debate question

October 19, 2018 - 8:50 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Will he debate?

That's what 1010 WINS' anchor Brigitte Quinn wanted to know when speaking with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday morning.

The New York Post has run consecutive covers -- including one featuring the governor in a chicken suit -- chiding Cuomo for balking at requests to debate his opponents in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Republican challenger Marc Molinaro had asked for a one-on-one debate with the two-term incumbent, and three third-party candidates had pushed for a more inclusive exchange.

"The New York Post is very good at playing politics and it is political season, and they play their politics," he said. "They didn't say anything when my opponent wouldn't debate in his primary, they didn't say anything... They oppose me the New York Post, they always have, they always will, they opposed my father."

So is that to say he definitely won't debate?

"My opponent hasn't put forth any significant ideas. It's all ugliness, it's all personal vitriol and ad hominem attacks, they invited hate groups to come speak in New York, but that's what this is about, it's just political silly season," he said.

When Quinn continued to press the question, Cuomo continued to pivot to the Post.

"I've never said that. This is about them playing politics. We have five candidates in the race, they don't want to talk about the other candidates because they don't support them. This is just them supporting their candidate," he said.

But will there be a debate?

"There are multiple candidates, the campaigns are talking about it, there are other candidates that believe they shouldn't be excluded," Cuomo said.

Should Cuomo pass on the opportunity, it won't be the first time a sitting governor has opted not to debate. Cuomo's father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, did not debate Republican George Pataki in 1994 in a race that Cuomo would go on to lose.

A head-to-head poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University suggests Cuomo is leading Molinaro 58-35 percentage points. The survey did not include Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Larry Sharpe or former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, an independent. The Oct. 10-16 survey of 852 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Hawkins, who placed third in the 2016 election, called Cuomo "cowardly'' for refusing to debate. He held a mock debate earlier this week with a man dressed as a chicken to make his point.