BUFFALO (AP) — A debate between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Republican Rob Astorino and two third-party candidates is likely to be the only opportunity voters have to see the candidates for New York governor interact before Election Day.
The hour-long exchange begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday and will be broadcast statewide on public television. In the Capital Region, the debate will be broadcast on WMHT.
Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Michael McDermott will participate alongside the major party candidates.
Viewers can expect to see the contenders grapple with education policy, taxes, gun control, upstate economic development, Albany corruption and whether New York should authorize hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
More debates had been proposed by each of the candidates, but Wednesday’s debate invitation was the only one that was accepted by both Cuomo and Astorino. Cuomo suggested a radio exchange between him and Astorino; Astorino wanted a series of televised debates with the governor.
Cuomo, who is widely believed to hold national ambitions, is well ahead in the polls. He is campaigning on his pragmatic approach that has coupled tax cuts and upstate economic development initiatives with liberal victories like gun control and same-sex marriage.
Astorino, the Westchester County executive, argues that Cuomo hasn’t done enough to improve the economy. He opposes a gun control law championed by Cuomo, supports fracking and has criticized Cuomo’s administration for allegedly meddling with an anti-corruption commission.
Hawkins, who finished third in the 2010 race, opposes hydraulic fracturing and supports a $15 minimum wage
The debate is sponsored by The Buffalo News, WNED-TV and WBFO-FM.