NEW YORK — It’s the latest gambit in the increasingly ugly New York governor’s race.
Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin has rejected an offer by Gov. Kathy Hochul to do just one debate on a cable station before the election, saying it will leave millions of New Yorkers in the dark.
Zeldin is instead saying make me a new offer and Hochul is saying take it or leave it.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer has more on latest moves in the political chess game.
The 2022 governor’s race may go down in history for answering just one question: who’s a chicken?
“I am not playing along with her games. I’m not going to be playing along with the strategy that is an insult disrespecting the voters of New York,” Zeldin said Thursday.
The Republican challenger is offering a biting “no thanks ” tothat he says millions of New Yorkers won’t be able to access on their televisions.
“I’m here today calling on her to come forward with a new plan, a new plan to do multiple debates across this state,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin’s rejection prompted a Hochul campaign spokesperson to tweet out a fake New York Post headline proclaiming “Lee Zeldin chickening out.” It was a Photoshopped version of a real Sept. 16 Post front page with the governor in the same chicken suit.
But Hochul, who is flush with campaign cash in a state with a solid edge in registered Democratic voters, is simply not caving to her opponent’s demands.
Her communications director, Jerrel Harvey, made it clear the one debate is a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
“Gov. Hochul looks forward to debating on Oct. 25 and highlighting the clear contrast between her strong record of delivering results and Lee Zeldin’s extreme agenda,” Harvey said.
Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said he can’t remember a gubernatorial race in New York where there was no debate at all.
“This is definitely political gamesmanship on both sides. The edge is with the governor. Why? She has 20 some odd million dollars in the bank. Zeldin has hardly been on television. She is all the time. This would have given him the opportunity to get some advertising on an issue he thinks matters, which is crime,” Sheinkopf said.
For the most part, New Yorkers asked about the feud say they’d like to see the candidates square off.
“I think it’s actually really necessary that both of them have a debate. It’s good for the community,” said Elias Ruiz of Forest Hills, Queens.
“You need the public to see how they handle themselves under pressure,” said Bruce Stratton of Levittown.
“Debates are a good thing because they allow each one of the participants to express their viewpoints and lets all of their constituents know whether or not we should or should not vote for them,” a man from Brooklyn said.
“I don’t believe what they say, so I don’t believe that debates are necessary. I think they all lie,” a woman from Manhattan added.
Putting aside the chicken suit tweet, New Yorkers may have to wait for the answer to who’s a chicken. Will Zeldin blink and do the one debate? Or will the governor agree that doing more than one debate is the way to go?
Zeldin has accepted two debate invitations,.
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