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Cuomo A No-Show In Final Gubernatorial Debate

The final debate of the 2018 New York governor’s race, and the only upstate debate, was held Thursday night at the College of Saint Rose in Albany and sponsored by the League of Women Voters. All of the candidates showed up, except Democratic incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The candidates, Republican Marc Molinaro,  Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, the Libertarian Party’s Larry Sharpe and independent candidate Stephanie Miner, described how they would handle issues including economic development , schools, taxes, sexual harassment  and gun control. The candidates criticized the incumbent governor’s policies. Sharpe says a red flag bill on gun removal from people’s homes who are considered potentially dangerous would create a “secret police.” Miner says Cuomo’s tax-free college tuition plan delivers much less than promised, and Molinaro says property taxes are much too high. 

But it was Hawkins who used the strongest terms to describe the governor’s absence.

“Shame on Andrew Cuomo for not coming here,” Hawkins scolded, as the audience applauded.   

Cuomo’s campaign said the governor would spend the rest of the time until November 6 talking directly to voters, though not in a debate forum.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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