By DANIEL SONNINSHINE
On Tuesday evening, October 24, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his challenger, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro squared off in a televised debate. While it was the only debate scheduled between the two-term Democrat governor and his Republican challenger, several Republican party leaders are calling for at least one more debate. In particular, GOP leaders from upstate are calling for a debate on issues that are of interest to those voters in areas such as the Finger Lakes region and Ontario County.
Tuesday’s debate featured both candidates on the attack, with many instances of interrupting one another and/or talking over each other. Cuomo’s main tactic seemed to be to tie Molinaro to President Trump, at one point calling him a “Mini-Me of Donald Trump.” Catering to his far-left base, Cuomo remarked, “The extreme conservative wing that Mr. Molinaro and Mr. Trump represent exclude everything. They’re anti-women. They’re anti-LGBTQ,” Another over-the-top statement that Cuomo made, which was clearly designed to appeal to Brooklyn and Manhattan liberals: “This extreme conservative divisive cancer that you have brought to this state with Washington — you put children in cages in Washington and you shackle women to gurneys in New York.”
Molinaro’s strategy was to link Cuomo to corruption, referring to the recent case of Cuomo’s aide, Joseph Percoco, who was convicted of conspiracy and soliciting bribes. He put Cuomo on the spot by saying, “Governor, you have led the most corrupted state government in America. At what point, after eight years of being in office, do you take responsibility?” Molinaro also blamed Cuomo for the current state of New York’s economy, particularly upstate. He noted that the U.S. has “the most competitive economy in the world, and New York State lags behind.”
Following this debate, upstate Republican leaders expressed dissatisfaction, not only with Cuomo’s apparent reluctance to participate in a debate at all (this debate was only recently scheduled), but also with his lack of focus on issues of interest to those outside of cities. Ontario County Republican and Finger Lakes Regional Chairwoman Trisha Turner stated, “We deserve to hear from Cuomo and Molinaro in a meaningful debate about their solutions to solve the many issues facing upstate New Yorkers. Failure to do so sends a loud and clear message to millions of upstate taxpayers that we don’t matter.” And Monroe County Republican and First Vice State Chairman Bill Reilich noted, “Often times it appears Governor Cuomo forgets we exist in upstate New York.”
With just over a week until Election Day, it seems unlikely that another debate will be scheduled and televised. But hopefully one will occur. And like the GOP leaders, let’s hope for a debate that has less time spent on anti-Trump rhetoric and more time on meaningful dialogue and discussion of how the candidates can improve the economy and life in general in the Empire State.
Daniel Sonninshine is an Empire State News staff writer, who is in search of greatness. A 20-something smart fellow, he is now lifting weights in an effort to obtain more power. If that doesn’t work, he will ask to write more editorials for Empire State News and less fact articles.
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