With just four weeks to go until Election Day, Westchester County Executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has declined the invitation for a one-on-one public radio debate with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Astorino who blew off The People’s Assembly Against Poverty forum last week in White Plains, has rejected a proposed one-on-one debate on WNYC radio because the governor won’t allow in television cameras.
“Vladimir Putin debated his opponent on television in Russia, but Andrew Cuomo won’t do the same in New York,” Astorino said. “What does that tell you about him?”
Astorino, who trails Cuomo badly in the polls and fund-raising, could benefit from a debate because it would raise his profile.
Cuomo campaign spokesman Matt Wing called it “bizarre” that Astorino, who previously had said he would debate anywhere, anytime, is refusing to participate in an event at “the most listened to public radio station in the country.”
“The more desperate Rob Astorino gets, the more bizarre his political manipulations become,” Wing said.
The debate was tentatively set for later this month, but Astorino objected, saying it should have been televised.
So far the two candidates have yet to squared off in a one-on-one debate, leaving a single televised debate in Buffalo with Cuomo, Astorino, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. That event, yet to be scheduled, would be televised on Buffalo public television and offered statewide.
Cuomo leads Republican Rob Astorino 51% to 31% in the race for governor — thanks largely to a commanding 32-point advantage among women, a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday found.