BUFFALO – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo squared off Wednesday night against three of his opponents in this year’s election, including Rob Astorino – the Republican County Executive from Westchester County.
The only debate to feature four of the five candidates that will appear on the ballot on Nov. 4 took place in Buffalo and was televised on PBS and also broadcast on several public radio stations across the state.
Joining Cuomo and Astorino were Libertarian Michael McDermott and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. The other person who will appear on the Ballot – Steven Cohn from the Sapient Party – did not attend the debate.
Cuomo and Astorino spent much of the debate attacking each others record. Astorino explained that Cuomo is connected to corruption in Albany and uses his business tax break policy to secure sweet heart deals with companies that will support him and his campaign. Cuomo, meanwhile, noted that Rob Astorino’s views are too conservative to lead New York state. He also pointed out that during Astorino’s time as County Executive, Westchester County has seen this highest property tax increase in all of new York state and currently has the highest property tax rate in the nation.
McDermott – the libertarian candidate – used his time to criticize the major-party candidates and urged voters to carefully consider their options. He also said his focus will be on less government involvement for residents and businesses across the state.
Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins voiced opposition to hydraulic fracturing and said the state needs to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Astorino supports hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, while Cuomo has said he wants to wait for a study on fracking’s health effects before deciding whether to allow the drilling practice.
Polls show Cuomo leads Astorino and the three other candidates by double digits.