Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York, who is running for a full term in November’s election, has refused a demand from her Republican challenger, Rep. Lee Zeldin, that they debate more than once, according to the Albany Times Union.
After weeks of negotiation between the campaigns, Hochul has agreed to one debate, to be held on Oct. 25 at Pace University in Westchester County, north of New York City, and broadcast by Spectrum News/NY1. However, she had declined Zeldin’s demand that they hold at least five debates across the state, each well in advance of the election on Nov. 8.
The date proposed by Hochul will be exactly two weeks from election day and four days before early voting begins on Oct. 29. It will also be on the same day as the Pennsylvania Senate debate, between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, which has also attracted controversy for Fetterman’s refusal to debate more than once, following a stroke he suffered in May. (RELATED: Fetterman Agrees To Debate Oz Over One Month After Early Voting Begins)
“This offer of Kathy Hochul to do just one debate at the end of October is a nonstarter,” Zeldin said during a conference on Thursday, as reported by the Times Union.
The New York Post’s cover page on Sept. 15 depicted Hochul in a chicken’s uniform with the headline “Chickening Out: Why won’t our scaredy Kat governor agree to debate opponent Lee Zeldin?”
Kathy Hochul loses if she debates me, but loses even more if she doesn’t.
I’ve challenged her to at least 5 debates across NY. She hasn’t yet accepted even one.
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) September 16, 2022
Fetterman’s decision has attracted criticism, as well. On Sept. 12, the Washington Post published an editorial calling on Fetterman to debate “more than once.” Fetterman has cited his ongoing recovery from his stroke as the reason for deferring the debate, which has led to attacks from Republicans that he is unfit to serve as a senator.
Hochul’s campaign has denied she is dodging a debate, instead referring to the fact that she participated in two primary debates against other Democratic contenders during a press conference on Thursday. Hochul, a former lieutenant governor, ascended to the governorship following Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation on Aug. 23, 2021, after several women accused him of sexual misconduct and a criminal investigation was opened.
Speaking of both Hochul and Fetterman, Republican National Committee Spokesperson Nicole Morales said Americans “deserve to hear from candidates who want to represent them, yet Democrats refuse to meet voters where they are.”
The Hochul and Zeldin campaigns did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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