It might have taken several days of being featured in the pages of the New York Post wearing a chicken costume, but Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday finally agreed to debate his Republican opponent with terms both sides could live with.
"The governor had absolutely no desire to debate me. Whether it was fear or arrogance, I don't know that either is becoming of the chief elected officer of the state of New York," Molinaro said at a press conference. "But I can tell you that we spoke for the people of the state of New York. And we won."
This is the first time Cuomo will have a one-on-one debate with his Republican general election opponent since becoming governor, although Cuomo debated his Democratic primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, in a one-on-one format in August.
Normally, the dates for these debates are set in advance, giving both candidates ample time to prepare. Both candidates did not officially accept this debate until Monday morning, just over 24 hours before it was set to take place.
"Sure, a weeklong advance notice, publicity — that's what the other 49 states do, that's what other governors do, that's what people who actually humble themselves before the voters expect that they have to do," Molinaro said. "There are governors who are well ahead of their opponent's in other states that absolutely, without hesitation, debate."
Cuomo's campaign released a new ad Monday, this time attacking the fiscal record of the Dutchess County Executive.
"Just look at Molinaro's record as a county legislator," a narrator said in part of the ad. "Over seven years, he voted to raise homeowners' property taxes by 58 percent, voted to increase total county spending by almost 45 percent, even supported a cell phone surcharge."
Molinaro said he would not be satisfied with just one debate, and called on the governor to also debate him at locations upstate. One of the criticisms of the primary debate was that neither Nixon nor Cuomo really spoke to any upstate issues.