Candidates will debate, without Cuomo, in second Gubernatorial event

The second gubernatorial debate of the general election will be held this evening at the College of St. Rose in Albany.

The 6 p.m. event will feature all of the candidates on the ballot for governor, save for the incumbent.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign on Wednesday confirmed he wouldn’t be attending the debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

“The governor will be spending the final days of the campaign speaking directly with voters and helping to elect Democrats up and down the ticket,” said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith.

Cuomo and his Republican opponent, Marc Molinaro, did participate in a one-on-one debate late last month broadcast on WCBS. The hour-long debate featured fireworks between the two candidates, but Molinaro has been pushing for at least one debate focused on upstate issues.

Today’s debate will include Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe, the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is mounting an independent bid on the Serve America Movement ballot line.

The League of Women Voters in a statement said it was to the detriment of New Yorkers that Cuomo declined to participate in the debate.

“We are extremely frustrated that the Governor does not feel a fair, nonpartisan, debate is an appropriate venue to speak directly to voters. This debate is for voters and open to the public,” said the group’s legislative director, Jennifer Wilson.

“Five candidates will appear on the ballot next Tuesday. Voters have a right to hear from all five candidates before selecting the next Governor of New York State on Election Day. If the Governor truly wants to speak to voters, he should have made it his priority to attend the only upstate debate of all candidates.”

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