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All candidates for governor but Cuomo attend final debate

Karen DeWitt

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

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 Gov. Andrew Cuomo's policies. Sharpe said a red flag bill on gun removal from people’s homes who are considered potentially dangerous would create a “secret police.” Miner said Cuomo’s tax-free college tuition plan delivers much less than promised. Molinaro said 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.  

Credit Karen DeWitt
Howie Hawkins and Stephanie Miner took part in Thursday's debate in Albany.

Cuomo’s campaign said the governor would spend the rest of the time until Nov. 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 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.