Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, today called upon Zephyr Teachout, one of three Democrats running for Governor, to support open debates that includes Hawkins and Randy Credico.
Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate badly trailing in the polls, yesterday said that he and Teachout were negotiating to do a TV debate since Cuomo won't debate Teachout (or Credico) during the Democratic primary.
"If you want to portray yourself as a good government candidate, then you should support inclusive debates, not just discard your principles to get some media coverage. And with Astorino and Cuomo having so many ballot lines, guaranteeing them a spot in the general election, the reality is that any debate involving either one of them should be open to any candidate that will also be on the ballot for the general election. That had been the requirement for many years for the League of Women Voters," said Hawkins.
Astorino does not have a primary opponent, thus any debate involving him is a general election debate.
Hawkins noted that compared to Astorino and Teachout, he will be the only one "celebrating victory" on election night in November. He said that an Astorino-Teachout debate would be the equivalent of a Consolation bowl.
Hawkins said that he wanted Teachout to clarify her position on open debates, since it was Astorino who claimed to the media that such a debate was being organized.
"If a Democratic challenger was already making backroom deals with Republicans to exclude political voices, then they would be more qualified to hold office as a Democrat in Albany than anyone could have anticipated," noted Hawkins.
Hawkins noted that the League of Women Voters guideline said that sponsors of debates, including the media, need to develop criteria for debates before inviting the candidates. Hawkins has been getting 7% in the polls whereas the pollsters say they don't include Teachout in voter preferences because she is doing so poorly that she had no chance in the primary. Astorino has been polling so poorly that he is more of a threat to set the record for the lowest vote total ever for a Republican gubernatorial candidate than he is to defeat Cuomo.
Hawkins said that since Credico is a professional impersonator, he could also mimic Cuomo if the sponsors wanted a debate with the five major candidates.