North Country democrats have a decision to make in just over two weeks.
Wednesday night, they saw their two candidates sit down to a debate. There’s no love lost between them.
“Can you stop interrupting? Can you stop interrupting?” asked Governor Andrew Cuomo during an exchange about the New York City subway system.
“Can you stop lying?” retorted Cynthia Nixon, his primary opponent.
“Yeah, as soon as you do!” said Cuomo.
The incumbent and the actress-turned-aspiring politician Cynthia Nixon held their only debate Wednesday night in Hempstead, NY.
“I think it was a status quo debate,” said Dr. Harvey Schantz, a political science professor at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Before the debate, Cuomo lead Nixon in the polls by 30 points.
No New York governor has ever lost a primary.
“What Cynthia Nixon gained from the debate last night was more name recognition. More people will get to know that she is a candidate out there. Andrew Cuomo ran on his record and that’s what you do as an incumbent,” said Dr. Schantz.
The two weighed in on issues, including marijuana legalization.
“Marijuana in New York state has been legal for white people for a long time. It’s time to make it legal for everybody else,” said Nixon.
“I do believe the benefits outweigh the risks,” said Cuomo.
Nixon supports public union worker’s right to strike.
“Workers don’t want to strike. Workers will only strike when they are so aggrieved that they see no other recourse,” she said.
“Teachers could go on strike, there would be no school, children wouldn’t be education and everyone stated out as saying is so important,” said Cuomo.
The North Country region was not mentioned in the one hour debate.
“Governor Cuomo has a proven record of knowing the issues of the North Country,” said Michael Cashman, Plattsburgh town supervisor.
Cashman sides with the incumbent.
“I don’t think [Nixon’s] made an effort to understand the area or the people that live, work and get educated here in the region. That’s really disappointing for anyone that’s running for a statewide race,” said Cashman.
Democrats cash their votes Thursday, September 13th.
Nixon will be on the November ballot as the “Working Families Party” nominee.
“In some ways that helps and hurts Cuomo. It hurts because it breaks up the democratic left vote but it helps because it breaks up the anti-Cuomo vote,” said Dr. Schantz.
In the debate, Cuomo promised not to run for president in 2020.
The Republican vying for the governorship is Marcus Molinaro.