NY1 invited both Governor Andrew, Cuomo and his running mate, Kathy Hochul, to participate in separate debates next week against their primary opponents, and despite an RSVP deadline of Thursday, we have still not heard from either. While Cuomo remains out of sight, Hochul downplayed the debate's importance on Friday. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Democrat Kathy Hochul left the door open Friday at least a crack to the possibility of debating her primary opponent, Tim Wu, on NY1 next week.
"The campaign is having conversations right now," Hochul said.
She also suggested that the debate is a lower priority than engaging voters on the campaign trail.
"The most important debate I need to have is with the constituents of this state, so that's where I'm focused right now," Hochul said. "I'll let the timing work out with the campaign and see what happens on the official side, but I know how to do this."
Indeed, after a slow start to her campaign, Hochul has been keeping up a busy schedule, visiting an upstate senior center Friday, among other stops, and announcing endorsements from Asian-American business groups and elected officials in the city, including Rep. Grace Meng.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, has been all but invisible, making just a handful of public appearances in recent weeks, perhaps sensing little threat from his challenger, Zephyr Teachout.
"Kathy Hochul was in hiding. Now, Andrew Cuomo is in hiding," Teachout said. "But voters shouldn't have to rely on Kathy Hochul to hear about Andrew Cuomo's record. Andrew Cuomo should have the courage to come forward himself."
Teachout was here in Queens Friday, one of the last stops on her three-day bus tour that took her all over New York State, highlighting what she refers to as the legal corruption in Cuomo's New York. She believes her critiques of Cuomo are registering.
"He's not only sent protesters around to protest my campaign, he's tried to keep me off the ballot. He's tried to kick me off the ballot. He sent forward Chris Quinn to defend his women's equality party," Teachout said.
With Cuomo seemingly unlikely to engage her directly, though, Teachout nonetheless says she plans to attend the NY1 debate Tuesday and is still hopeful he'll have a change of heart.