Despite Thursday's RSVP deadline, Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet responded to NY1's invitation to debate his primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, on NY1's "Inside City Hall" next week. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s running mate, Kathy Hochul, was on the defensive Thursday following a series of attacks on her record. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo, it seems, has no plans to debate primary challenger Zephyr Teachout on NY1 next week.
"I think it's becoming embarrassing that he's not debating me," Teachout said.
NY1 had asked the Cuomo campaign to respond by Thursday to our invitation to a debate next Tuesday. Teachout suggested it was a missed opportunity.
"The governor should be proud of his record," she said. "And it's not a disrespect to me. It's a disrespect to the Democrats and the primary voters in New York not to have a debate. It's a basic expectation of politics. It's where we get to show our differences."
While he sought unsuccessfully to kick Teachout off the primary ballot by challenging her residency, Cuomo has otherwise chosen to ignore her candidacy and run virtually no campaign of his own. In fact, from the time The New York Times published a story last month detailing his alleged interference with his anti-corruption commission through Thursday, a span of 37 days, Cuomo has made just 12 public appearances throughout the state. Teachout has made that many in the past two days.
Speaking of The New York Times, its editorial board Thursday endorsed Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu, for lieutenant governor, saying Cuomo's running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, "has a deeply troubling record on health reform, gun control and environmental deregulation."
"We're excited. We're enthusiastic," Wu said. "It's been a big shot in the arm, I'd say, for the campaign."
"The voters are the ones who matter. That's the lesson I learned from my previous experiences, not endorsements," Hochul said.
However, criticism that Hochul leans too conservative appears to have touched a nerve. On Thursday, she released an online video defending her Democratic bona fides on issues like immigration, campaign finance reform and health care.
"I never backed down from our core Democratic values," Hochul said.
A new Cuomo mailer to primary voters, meanwhile, proclaims New York the progressive capital of the country.