Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, today called on the media to sponsor open debates in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
“Cuomo is ducking everyone and Astorino is ducking me. The big losers are the voters who don’t hear the candidates debate the issues. Instead they get subjected to Cuomo’s $40 million Madison Ave. onslaught of media ads. We need more than Pepsi vs. Coke commercials,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins criticized both WNYC’s Brian Lehrer's and Democratic Party challenger Zephyr Teachout's involvement in a debate that excluded both the Green Party and the other Democratic Party primary challenger, Randy Credico. He also said that Astorino was a hypocrite about debates.
“For 5 years Lehrer and WNYC have refused to provide me with any air time, despite my third place finish in the 2010 governor’s race. If WNYC or other media outlets are going to host debates, they need to provide clear guidelines as to how candidates can participate. And you can’t call it a primary debate if any of the participants are already guaranteed a spot on the general election ballot,” noted Hawkins.
Hawkins said that the media should support open debates and invite the candidates to participate. If one of the candidates like Cuomo refuses to participate, the media outlet should go ahead with the event anyway.
Hawkins said he would participate in the Sept. 4 WNYC debate as long as Credico and Cuomo were also invited.
Hawkins also said that Republican Astorino was being hypocritical for chiding Cuomo’s over his failure to debate his challengers during the Democratic primary while he himself refuses to debate his challenges in the general election and holds a “debate” with only one of the challengers in the Democratic Party primary.
Astorino released a video this morning that says, “This is a democracy and in a democracy you’re supposed to debate your opponent. It’s a tradition that dates back all the way to colonial times.”