Ahead of a Democratic primary next week, Governor Andrew Cuomo skipped yet another debate Thursday morning, this time on WNYC Radio, while the Cuomo team launched a TV ad promoting his lieutenant governor candidate, Kathy Hochul. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Since Governor Andrew Cuomo has refused to debate, WNYC Radio invited Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo's primary opponent next week, and Rob Astorino, the Republican nominee who will be on the ballot in November.
Both candidates took aim at Cuomo's comments from earlier in the week, when he made a joke about his refusal to debate his opponents.
"I've been in many debates that I think were a disservice to democracy. So anyone who says debates are always a service to democracy hasn't watched all the debates that I've been in," Cuomo said Tuesday.
"His comments, that it would be a disservice to democracy to debate, is borderline delusional, and I think he owes it to the people of this state to talk about his record," Astorino said.
Teachout appeared on Inside City Hall Tuesday without Cuomo.
"This big concern here is that Andrew Cuomo is acting in a self-serving way, and the basic obligation of any public official, elected or seeking public office, is to put the interests of their constituents first. That's not what he is doing," she said.
The Cuomo campaign has released a new TV ad that heavily promotes running mate Kathy Hochul. Hochul is facing Columbia law professor Tim Wu, and some believe that race may be too close to call.
On Thursday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver condemned Teachout for failing to take a strong stand for Israel. Silver and the governor traveled together to Israel last month.
"Their failure to stand strong with Israel speaks volumes about their true feelings when it comes to protecting and defending the Jewish state," Silver said.
Analysts said Cuomo is employing what is known as a "Rose garden strategy," where he does a handful of gubernatorial events but generally stays off the campaign trail. That can be an effective strategy, but others noted it can also wind up garnering a lot more media attention for the opponent.