Debating Becomes a Debating Point Between Hochul and Zeldin
No debate has been finalized yet between Governor Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin, despite the governor finally agreeing to participate after months of refusing to commit.
Since the agreement was made during a press briefing, there has been plenty of debate about the debate, but no consensus has been reached on when, where, or how many debates might take place.
While Hochul agreed to participate in a single, hour-long debate on Tuesday, October 25, hosted by Spectrum News NY1 at Pace University in New York City, Zeldin called the governor's refusal to agree to a series of debates "pathetic". He has, in turn, requested a minimum of five debates, including three in locations outside New York City, and blasted Hochul's suggestion that a single debate would suffice on a network not all New Yorkers could access.
"You can have a debate in one region of the state, and the issues might not be the same as in another part of the state," Zeldin said.
Zeldin added that for Hochul to suggest "a one-hour debate, a month after the start of absentee voting, is unacceptable. Instead, Zeldin suggests at least five debates in various media markets. "I'm happy to have one in every media market," he said during a news conference." I call on Governor Hochul to come out of hiding."
When asked if he would consider doing a single debate, Zeldin said, "As of right now, I am rejecting Kathy Hochul's offer of one debate at the end of October. I'm not playing along with her games. This strategy is insulting and disrespectful to the voters of New York. I'm calling on her to come forward with a new plan for multiple debates across the state. That offer is a non-starter."
"I think if you look at history, let's say the last 40 years, there's always been one debate for the general election," Hochul said on Tuesday. "I already participated in two [primary] debates this year. So, you know, we're looking forward to showing up."
Former Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo also only agreed to one debate against Marc Molinaro in 2018.
Former Republican Governor George Pataki debated opponents only once during three successful campaigns.
Zeldin also criticized the choice of Spectrum News NY1 as its stations are not available to non-cable subscribers. He has, though, agreed to two other debates hosted by different television stations. Hochul declined the offer.
"Voters should have the opportunity to hear where the candidates stand before they vote, not after," he said in a statement last week. "Meanwhile, the NYC media market is not the only media market in the state. It is important to have debates throughout the state to focus on issues specific to that particular region."
"This is a rescue mission to end the attacks on our safety, wallets, freedoms, and kids' education. Losing is not an option," Zeldin said in his acceptance speech in June. "Kathy Hochul has now been warned that the people of New York are coming for her job at the ballot box this November. "