Cuomo, Molinaro to spar in NY gov race's only planned debate

In this combination photo, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, left, speaks at a news conference in New York on Sept. 14, 2018, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, speaks a news conference in in Tarrytown; N.Y., on May 8, 2018. Cuomo and Molinaro are poised to debate Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 in New York City in their only showdown scheduled before the Nov. 6 election election. (AP Photos/Bebeto Matthews, left, and Julio Cortez, Files)

NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers may get their only chance Tuesday to see Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo debate Republican challenger Marc Molinaro before next month’s election.
Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term, will spar with Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, Tuesday afternoon at the CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan. The exchange will be webcast and televised at 7 p.m. on several CBS affiliates. Upstate viewers should check their local schedules for times.
Cuomo is far ahead in the polls and in fundraising, and until this weekend showed little interest in debating his lesser-known Republican challenger. He has sought to tie Molinaro to President Donald Trump, arguing that Republicans can’t be trusted with leading the state.
“I have no problem fighting against the forces of hate,” Cuomo said when asked on the radio last week if he was reluctant to debate his rival.
Molinaro, who has said he did not support Trump in 2016, has criticized Cuomo’s handling of the upstate economy, taxes and chronic political corruption in Albany. He said Monday the debate would be a rare opportunity to confront Cuomo, but that more debates should be held upstate.
“As usual, the forgotten upstate New Yorker is getting screwed by Andrew Cuomo,” Molinaro said.
The debate won’t feature the three third-party candidates: Libertarian Larry Sharpe, Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins or former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, an independent.
“A single debate without all the candidates hurts democracy,” Miner said in a statement responding to Monday’s debate announcement. “New Yorkers deserve better.”